BOSTON – Marian Hossa admitted that watching his team play without him was heartbreaking.
The Blackhawks have been mum about the injury that kept him out of Game 3.
“You almost feel useless there,” he said Wednesday night after the Blackhawks beat the Bruins 6-5 in overtime to send the series back to Chicago tied 2-2. “Today was a different decision, one extra day. So I decided I can help a little bit and I'm glad we won.”
Hossa returned to the lineup and had an assist on Patrick Sharp's third-period goal that gave the Blackhawks a 5-4 lead. In all, he played 29 shifts lasting 19 minutes, getting off four shots on goal.
“I think Hoss has a lot of pride. He was upset with not being able to play last game,” said Brent Seabrook, who scored the winner in overtime to give the Blackhawks a 6-5 victory. “He battled the last couple days to get prepared and get ready for tonight. It was a big lift for the boys, I think. Just to see him out there battling and skating, working as hard as he does all the time, it's definitely nice to see.”
BIG D FROM BIG Z: Bruins defenceman Zdeno Chara has been a workhorse throughout the NHL playoffs.
He averaged 30 minutes, 4 seconds in 19 games before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals between Boston and the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night. That is more than any player in the series.
Have the Blackhawks been too preoccupied with the 6-foot-9 Bruins captain?
“I don't know if we're giving him attention, respect or whatever,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “Certainly, he's playing meaningful minutes. He's going to be out there against top guys. It's not like we're keeping guys off the ice (to avoid him).
“I think the score is something we always look at, as well. It's what we're playing against. I think the guys out there against him, they like to play their game. But, certainly, it's a challenge getting through him to the net.”
Chara played 45:05 in the triple-overtime first game, 30:58 in the single-overtime second game, and 25:47 in Game 3.
For Chicago, defenceman Duncan Keith's average of 27:17 in 19 games led the team entering Wednesday night's game. Against Boston, he played 48:40 in Game 1, 32:09 in Game 2, and 26:21 in Game 3.
TALKIN' WITH TYLER: Tyler Seguin came into the NHL as the second pick of the 2011 draft with a reputation as a scorer. In 2012, he led the Boston Bruins with 29 goals and 67 points. This season, he was second on the team with 16 goals.
So when his scoring touch deserted him in the playoffs, he decided to chat with coach Claude Julien. Seguin wanted to know what he could do better. And Julien was receptive.
“That's a relationship I think coaches always have to have with players, more today than ever,” Julien said before the Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals on Wednesday night. “There was a time back when I played that you didn't really ever bother the coach. You either played or you didn't. If you didn't, you found a way to get back in the lineup.”
Now, he said, players need guidance.
“They know that door has always been open for conversation,” he said. It “doesn't mean they will hear what they want to hear, but they'll hear the truth.”
Seguin had one goal and six assists in the first 19 playoff games, but has improved recently.
“Maybe he hasn't got that goal or those goals, but he's got some assists, made some great plays on other ones that they haven't scored,” Julien said. “He's forechecked, done well in the battles as far as trying to come up with the puck, all the things we ask him to do.”
MAYERS STAYS READY: Chicago forward Jamal Mayers hasn't played since April 27. That's when the Blackhawks played their last game of the regular season.
Since then, he has been a spectator for all their playoff games, 21 counting Wednesday night's win in the fourth game of the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins.
Mayers has seen plenty in his 15 NHL seasons. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was asked if he thought Mayers would make a good coach.
“I don't want to encourage anybody to be a coach,” Quenneville said. “He's a great teammate. He does everything he can for the guys. He has some experience. He wants to get in the lineup in the worst way, does everything he can to get in there if the moment arises.”
Mayers had no goals and two assists in 19 games this season. In 915 games in his NHL career, he has 90 goals, 129 assists and 1,200 penalty minutes. He spent most of that time with St. Louis, and then played with Toronto, San Jose and Calgary before joining Chicago last season, when he played 81 games.
“Jammer has been around coaching for a long time,” Quenneville said. “He has a pretty good awareness (of) not just the game but the way people approach things.”
CAT SCRATCH FEVER: Boston's Brad Marchand had a scratch in the middle of his forehead—courtesy of his late-game fisticuffs with Chicago's Andrew Shaw, he said.
“Yeah, I've got a nice scratch on my forehead right there, a little claw mark. Like a kitty cat,” Marchand said. “But that stuff happens in scrums.”
Marchand and Shaw paired up and drew the first fighting majors of the series with 12 seconds left in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday night, a 2-0 Boston victory that gave the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Zdeno Chara and Bryan Bickell also squared off and were sent off for roughing.
Marchand said he didn't mind that Shaw got in a few more punches after they fell to the ice.
“That stuff happens,” he said. “I've done that before. The eye gouge I didn't like, but it's part of the game.”