The gala Soldier Field game Saturday night left behind one important Blackhawks casualty: Marian Hossa.
The first-line forward is expected to miss two to three weeks with an upper-body injury, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Monday. Brandon Saad is Hossa’s likely replacement on the first line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. Hossa has 24 goals and 50 points overall.
The 35-year-old Slovak was checked into the end boards by Penguins forward Craig Adams midway through the first period.
Bollig earns extension: Brandon Bollig, the Hawks’ tough fourth-line winger and one of the most improved players on the roster, earned himself a three-year contract extension Monday.
Details were not released, but NHL.com reported that the contract averages about $1.25 million a year. Bollig’s new deal came one season after he was frequently shuttled back and forth from AHL affiliate Rockford.
"We take a great amount of pride in having watched Brandon come up through our system and become a big part of our lineup on a daily basis”, general manager Stan Bowman said. “We are pleased to be able to come to this agreement with him, ensuring that he will remain a part of our organization. We look forward to seeing his continued development with the Blackhawks.”
Bollig has tallied a career-high 12 points (six goals and six assists) in 62 games. He leads the Hawks with 138 hits and 69 penalty minutes.
Satisfaction with Versteeg: Bowman said he did not have to ardently pursue a deal before Wednesday's NHL trade deadline for a good reason: he believe he already made an impact in-season trade by re-acquiring winger Kris Versteeg from the Florida Panthers in November.
Versteeg scored the third goal, taking a nifty pass from Patrick Kane, in Saturday night’s 5-1 victory at Soldier Field.
“Kris has been really good for us,” Bowman said of the veteran of the 2010 Stanley Cup champs, who had departed in that post-season’s salary-cap purge. “I'm excited for how it's worked out. We talked at the time that we made the deal that he gives us that versatility. We like that he can play all around our lineup, and he's done that so far. I think he's played every position. He's played left wing, right wing and center for us this year. He's played from the first to the third line.
“Now that he's been around with us for a while, he fits in good. Certainly he's got some chemistry with Patrick (on the second line). They've played pretty well together. Here they can both be creative players and make plays.”
Home sweet home: Winger Patrick Sharp probably spoke up for all 10 Hawks Olympic players in finally getting an extended time at home through Saturday with games against the Avalanche tonight and Blue Jackets Thursday.
“Yeah, it will be nice to go home, relax, see the family, check in with my (pre-school-age) kids,” Sharp said. “I think they've got their driver's license by now, I haven't seen them in so long.
“We're definitely excited about our final 20 games here. It's going to be a battle for position in the Western Conference, you see some of the moves (teams like the Blues) are making. They're loading up. So we're excited to get back to normal. Sleep in our own beds and play some hockey at the United Center.”