CHICAGO -- Like most players, Marian Hossa was powerless to stop what happened late in the first period of a game at United Center this past Wednesday.
Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, a relentless puck hound, used a jabbing stick lift to rip the puck from the Chicago Blackhawks forward in the defensive zone. Datsyuk quickly headed the other way, looking for the kind of play he's turned into key goals numerous times in his career.
Hossa had other ideas, and unlike most players, he was able to recover.
Just as he did during practices with the Red Wings in 2007-08, Hossa chased Datsyuk. He closed the gap through the neutral zone and caught the speedy Russian at the Chicago blue line. Hossa, a 36-year old right wing, returned the favor with a strip of his own inside the left circle, sending the puck the other way with a stretch pass.
The crowd roared. Hossa felt a sense of relief and accomplishment.
"He's one of the best," he said of Datsyuk, a three-time winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward. "I had the chance to play with [him] in Detroit and we'd play keep-aways after practices, because he's one of the best in the League. I learned from him quite a bit."