Marian Hossa remembers only a few seconds of the illegal hit that forced him out of Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against Phoenix.
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 0
SOG: 10 | +/-: 3
That's the scariest part of his current ordeal, which finds the Chicago Blackhawks
' star forward recovering from what is believed to be a concussion. Hossa missed the rest of the Blackhawks' opening-round series, which was won by the Phoenix Coyotes
in six games, and made his first public comments since the incident on Thursday to reporters via teleconference.
"Well, definitely it is better since the accident, but [I'm] still not feeling myself, so it's going to take some time," Hossa said. "The good thing is it's step by step getting a little bit better, and that's a good sign."
The League suspended Torres 25 games for the hit, a sentence that will carry over into next season and preclude him from playing any preseason games. On the play, Torres broke three different NHL rules -- interference, charging and illegal check to the head. Hossa, in the neutral zone, had already released the puck when he was hit by Torres, who left his feet to deliver the check.
Hossa fell to the ice and was down for about 10 minutes before he was wheeled off the ice and taken by ambulance to the hospital. Hossa said he only remembers what he was doing before the hit and just scattered seconds afterward.
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Hossa was released under his own power that night but had to spend a few days sitting in a darkened room followed by a week of being at home mostly sleeping.
"That was not fun," Hossa said. "The good thing is I can move around now and things are bothering me less than before. So, that's a good sign and I'm feeling better. Like I said, it's just small steps."
Torres, meanwhile, did make a call to Hossa about a week after the incident. Hossa said he was glad Torres called, but also took the chance to express his displeasure of the hit itself.
"I told him [that] I know he plays that way, but the one thing I was upset [with] was the jump," Hossa said. "If he didn't jump, I would maybe get hit … but he wouldn't hit my head and he wouldn't have 25 games [right now]. I told him I was upset about the jumping and the conversation was pretty quick. That was about it."
As for the future, the hope is for Hossa to be ready for training camp in September. Hossa said he won't do much more than walking for the next four to six weeks and then try to ease back into his training regimen -- starting with work on a stationary bike.
"I'm slowly getting better," Hossa said. "It's been a few weeks now and obviously I'm not feeling myself yet, but it seems like I'm feeling better and I've been going for the walks and that's a good thing. Training camp is still far away, and we'll see what's going to happen by then. I'm in contact with the organization, [Blackhawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry], my trainers, and I'm telling them every fifth day how it's going. So far [it's] small steps, getting better, and I feel I'll be ready."