Hawks' Hossa a Game 3 scratch, Smith in
Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa was a late scratch from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins, although the cause wasn't immediately known.
Hossa, who has seven goals and eight assists to tie for the team lead with 15 points in the playoffs, skated during the team's pregame warm-ups and was scratched with about 15 minutes left before the opening faceoff. An NBC announcer said Hossa was hit by a puck during warm-ups, but coach Joel Quenneville said nothing happened during warm-ups. Quenneville said Hossa has an upper-body injury and is day-to-day, and the Hawks are hopeful Hossa can play in Game 4 on Wednesday.
"We'll say day-to-day," Quenneville said. "We're hopeful he'll be ready for the next game. It was a game-time decision after the warm-up there. That's when we made the call, after the warm-up."
Ben Smith filled in for Hossa. Smith scored one goal in one game for the Blackhawks in the regular season. He had three goals in seven playoff games in 2011, but finished with a plus/minus rating of minus-1 and had just one shot on goal Monday night.
"Benny gives us energy," Quenneville said. "He's one of those players offensively, defensively, he's responsible. He's been practicing hard. You lose a guy like Hoss, you're looking to fill a little bit of skill for us as well."
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said the team wasn't surprised just before game time when the decision was made.
"It's something we were prepared for all day, that he might not play," Toews said. "It happens sometimes. You're missing one of your best players and you've got to find a way to play without him. We always say it's an opportunity for the guys to step up. The guys that got more ice time tonight played well. We've just got to find a way to win."
Hossa and Toews are considered the team's most versatile forwards. Aside from being on the team's top line, Hossa is utilized on the power-play and penalty-killing units. He finished 10th this season in the voting for the Selke Trophy, which is given to the best defensive forward, an award won by Toews.
Hossa had a sporadic regular season due to injuries, which forced him to miss eight games, but he's often been among the team's scoring leaders since arriving to the Blackhawks in 2009. He led the Blackhawks with 77 points in the 2011-12 regular season.
Hossa is in his fourth Stanley Cup finals in the past six years.
The Blackhawks trail the Bruins 2-1 in the series with Game 4 set for Wednesday night in Boston.
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