Playing with another center, now Dave Bolland, means another adjustment for Blackhawks all-star right wing Marian Hossa.
But unlike the subtle adjustments Hossa has had to make playing with Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane, it's more complicated with Bolland.
Toews and Kane are left-handed shots and have an easier time passing to Hossa on right wing since they mostly face him. Because Bolland is a right-handed shot, it means either making riskier backhand passes to Hossa on the right side or both players adjusting their positioning on the ice while on the attack.
“I know David is a great player and playmaker, but if you've got a left-handed center, he can see right away because they are facing that way and make the pass a little quicker,” Hossa said. “Playing with Dave, maybe keep swinging from the right to the left and try to get open for him. Maybe instead of staying on my side, I try to criss-cross with him.”
Bolland this week has been added to the long list of players Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has used at center on the second line, joining Kane, Marcus Kruger, Michael Frolik, Brandon Pirri, Andrew Shaw and Ben Smith.
Kruger's concussion has caused most of the juggling, but he might return on Saturday at Detroit.
General manager Stan Bowman has made it no secret he would like to add a second-line center before the Feb. 27 trade deadline along with another defenseman.
One center making the rounds in rumors as someone the Hawks might be scouting for a potential trade is the Islanders' Frans Nielsen, who has 7 goals and 20 assists and will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Marian Hossa turned 33 on Tuesday and got the usual jabs from his teammates.
“I don't feel any older,” Hossa said.
Look for Hossa to spend many more birthdays with the Hawks since he is signed for nine more years, through the 2020-21 season.