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Hossa back at practice, hopes to play Friday

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- It's no sure thing, but initial feedback from Marian Hossa appears to indicate that he and the Chicago Blackhawks might have dodged a serious injury situation.

Hossa practiced Thursday after Chicago took the day off following Tuesday's 4-3 shootout win against the Vancouver Canucks -- in which Hossa received a blow to the back of the head 1:10 into the third period from Jannik Hansen.

The blow dropped Hossa face down onto the ice in front of the Chicago bench area and sparked images of the hit he took from Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres in a Stanley Cup Playoffs series last spring that knocked him out of that series with concussion-like symptoms.

Hossa left Tuesday's game and did not return.

"Obviously he surprised me and hit me from behind and right in the back of the head," Hossa said of Hansen, who was penalized Tuesday then suspended Wednesday for one game by the League. "Right after [it happened], I was still shaky physically. That's why I didn't return. I was still shaky. The day off kind of slowed it down and [Thursday] morning I woke up and felt much better."

Marian Hossa
Marian Hossa
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 8 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 14
SOG: 51 | +/-: 6
Hossa looked like himself during practice, ripping shots at the net, skating well and working on the Blackhawks' top power-play unit. He said he doesn't believe this incident reaggravated any of the concussion-like effects that were caused by the Torres hit last spring -- which knocked him out cold and required a stretcher followed by a trip to the hospital.

This time, no stretcher and no hospital trip was required, and Hossa hopes to play Friday night at home against the San Jose Sharks (8:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network U.S.). In order to do that, he will have to go through Friday's morning skate then pass the required concussion protocols again in order to get the green light.

"I had a good practice today," Hossa said. "We'll see how it is after I sleep and go to practice [Friday morning]. If I feel good, I'd like to play."

Even if he does, there's no guarantee that Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville will play Hossa.

"We'll look at all those things and you ask the player, ‘How you doing? Do you feel like you're ready or more than ready?'" Quenneville said. "In his situation, too, that's going to be the criteria … more than ready."

As for the hit by Hansen, Hossa said he was glad to see at least a one-game suspension doled out as supplemental discipline.

"Hopefully guys learn from it," Hossa said. "[Hansen] said he was looking for the puck. I didn't buy it. When you reach for the puck, you don't hit somebody that hard to the head."

Hossa also said thoughts of the Torres hit did go through his mind after he returned to the locker room, which actually gave him confidence he'd be OK.

"When I fell down, I kind of knew what happened," Hossa said. "I realized what happened, so that was kind of a good sign. I was just a little shaky right after and I knew it was something not as bad as last time, because I didn't remember … last time … anything. As soon as I went to the dressing room, it kind of happened in the same spot, so something went through my mind [about the Torres hit], but I knew right away after, when I was in the room I was just shaky and I remembered everything when I went to talk to the doctor. So, I just felt good about it."

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