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Hossa working hard for return to Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa continues to show progress in his recovery from a concussion that knocked him out of the Chicago Blackhawks' loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Marian Hossa
Marian Hossa
Right Wing - CHI
GOALS: 29 | ASST: 48 | PTS: 77
SOG: 248 | +/-: 18
Meeting with reporters in person for the first time since a hit by Coyotes forward Raffi Torres in Game 3 of the series, Hossa said he's been working out hard off the ice for about a month and showing no symptoms.

"Lots of time has passed by and that helped me," Hossa said Friday afternoon at a media function prior to the start of the Hawks' annual fan convention this weekend at the Chicago Hilton. "I didn't have to rush anything and that was most important thing. After (it was decided) that I couldn't fly home to Slovakia, I just basically didn't do anything. I just relaxed and (at) some point I decided to try to do something, start working out. Things right now are on a level where I want to be and I'm happy where I am so far."

However, Hossa hasn't gotten back on the ice.

"I'm going to take my time and first do everything at the gym, cardio, and the time will come soon when I step on the ice and start doing things on the ice," he said. "The way I feel right now, I feel I will be ready for (training) camp. No (symptoms) right now. It could be different on the ice, when I get my first hit or somebody just (pushes) me ... but so far without the contact I can do everything at a high level."

That's good news for the Blackhawks, who missed out on signing free agent forward Zach Parise this summer and will again depend heavily on Hossa in their top six group of forwards. The 33-year old, a star two-way player, is coming off a season in which he missed one game in the regular season after being absent for large chunks of time the previous two years.

Hossa scored 29 goals and had 48 assists for 77 points in 2011-12 then got knocked out of the playoffs before he could record a point. The Blackhawks lost the series in six games.

Earlier this summer, when talking with reporters on a conference call, Hossa admitted he was angry with Torres for the hit that wound up drawing an initial 25-game suspension that also removed Torres from the postseason.

The suspension was appealed and eventually assessed at 21 games on July 2 by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

"(I'm looking) forward," Hossa said. "I can't control what happened in the past. I'm sure he's going to learn (by) sitting out 21 games."

Hossa is focused solely on his continued recovery and getting himself ready for training camp.

"I'm able to train at a high level right now and that's my goal," he said. "So far, so good. I'm happy where I am."

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