No Marian Hossa or Marcus Kruger for the Winter Classic – whenever it gets played

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ST. LOUIS, MO - JANUARY 1: Members of the Chicago Blackhawks skate during the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Practice Day at Busch Stadium on January 1, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

ST. LOUIS – The show will go on.

The stage is set. Those who will perform have been determined.

Now the only issue that remains is when the figurative curtain will open on the NHL’s latest outdoor showcase. Mother Nature is going to have the deciding vote.

With showers expected in the area of Busch Stadium around the 12 PM start time of the Blackhawks and Blues outdoor game, the league has floated the possibility of delaying the start of the game by a few hours or a day. On Sunday night the league announced that the start time will be set at 7 AM on Monday.

Not that the Blackhawks are terribly worried about it. Don’t forget they played in a steady snow back in the 2014 Stadium Series game at Soldier Field and still beat the Penguins that evening.

“It slowed the pace of the game down a little bit but I think if you don’t make excuses and you go play through it and you know it’s a challenge that both teams have to deal with, maybe you can take advantage of the rough conditions in some ways,” said captain Jonathan Toews of the possible conditions.

Whether the weather is good or bad it to be determined. But Toews knows that his team will be without the services of two of his teammates for the game against the Blues in the elements.

Marian Hossa remains on Injured Reserve with an upper-body injury that has kept him out of the last four Blackhawks games. Last week Quenneville targeted the Winter Classic as the ideal time for Hossa’s return but not enough progress with recovery was made.

At the same time, the Blackhawks found out they won’t have the services of Marcus Kruger for Monday and the next 2-to-3 weeks. The forward was placed on Injured Reserve after he was hurt in the Blackhawks’ loss to the Hurricanes on Friday night.

Kruger has dealt with major injuries the last two seasons, playing in just 41 games a year ago after injuring his wrist in December. Kruger has two goals and eight assists in 39 games this season.


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