The Chicago Blackhawks will formally begin their defense of the Stanley Cup when they host the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night. Apparently, their second forward line will be fully functional for the occasion as both Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus stated that they would be available for the game.
Handzus and Hossa have yet to play in an exhibition game this year due to injury, as both players continued to recover from injuries sustained last season. Handzus required offseason surgery to repair a broken wrist and torn MCL, while Hossa struggled with a disc in his back. Apparently, both players are well enough to return to the lineup. The two are expected to be paired with Patrick Sharp on the team's second line, which will support the top-pairing of Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Here's the rest of Chicago's forward combinations from practice on Monday, via Dan Rosen of NHL.com:
Here were Chicago's forward lines today: Bickell-Toews-Kane; Sharp-Handzus-Hossa; Saad-Shaw-Hayes; Bollig-Kruger-Nordstrom. Smith an extra.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) September 30, 2013
Head coach Joel Quenneville also confirmed that Corey Crawford will act as the team's starting goaltender on Tuesday. Crawford missed the team's final exhibition game on Saturday due to lower-body stiffness and was kept out as a precautionary measure.
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