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Originally published June 18, 2013 at 9:35 PM | Page modified June 18, 2013 at 10:33 PM

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Surprise scratch of Blackhawks’ Hossa is part of NHL injury culture

Secrecy about injuries is an NHL tradition, especially in the playoffs.

The Associated Press

Game 4 Wednesday

Chicago @ Boston, 5 p.m., KONG and CBUT

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BOSTON – Marian Hossa is one of the Chicago Blackhawks’ top scorers, with three winning goals already this postseason.

And then, suddenly, he wasn’t in the lineup for a team that needed all the scoring it can get.

Hossa’s surprise scratch Monday from Game 3 of the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final — and the one-word explanation, “upper,” for the part of his body that was injured — is part of a long-running cat-and-mouse game teams play on the theory any information about injuries is a competitive disadvantage.

“I think that’s self-explanatory,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, declining to discuss Hossa’s injury in any detail.

Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots from the depleted Blackhawks to help the Bruins win 2-0 for a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 is Wednesday in Boston before the series returns to Chicago for a fifth game.

Hossa is expected to play in Game 4, Quenneville said, but only after making clear that “I’m not going to get exactly what the injury is or where it occurred.”

“It’s sort of a secret society in the hockey world and in the injury world,” Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland said. “You don’t want other teams having any injury information at all.”

Asked if he had seen Hossa or had a chance to talk to him, Bolland said, “I don’t know.”

You don’t know if you’ve seen him or talked to him?

“I don’t know if I’ve seen him,” Bolland repeated with a sly smile.

Players and coaches say they just don’t talk about what’s hurting, partly because they don’t want to seem weak in a sport where they hit each other for a living.

But mostly, they don’t want let the other team know where to aim.

“If I’m going out to battle and I have an injury to any part of my body, I don’t want the other side to know what it is,” Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said.

Quenneville was so concerned about giving Boston advance notice of even a few minutes that he didn’t let substitute Ben Smith skate in the warmup.

Notes

• Several high-profile players signed or agreed to contract extensions, such as San Jose center Logan Couture ($30 million, five years); Los Angeles defenseman Slava Voynov ($25 million, six years); Detroit forward Pavel Datsyuk ($22.5 million, three years); and Philadelphia defenseman Mark Streit ($21 million, four years).

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