It was a sight Chicago Blackhawks fans want to forget: Marian Hossa lying motionless on the ice after Raffi Torres left his feet and delivered a huge hit in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series against the Phoenix Coyotes on April 17. Hossa left the hospital later that evening under his own power but spent the rest of the summer recovering from a serious concussion.
Today, the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc tweeted that per a source, Hossa had been medically cleared to play by team doctors, eight months after that terrible hit.
Hossa spent the summer in his native Slovakia, taking things slowly before even thinking of taking the ice. He’d been spotted in Chicago since the lockout, skating alone or with teammate Steve Montador, who is also recovering from a concussion. This official medical clearance will give him full permission to practice with his teammates.
As for Torres, his punishment is still to be fully served. He was initially given a 25-game suspension based on prior acts, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reduced that to 21 games in July. He’s already sat out 13 games, which covered the rest of the Coyotes’ postseason play.
Hossa might not be entirely out of the woods. Jonathan Toews, who suffered a concussion in February but was cleared to play in the postseason, was only recently able to say that he was completely free of any symptoms. A week-long visit to a chiropractor in Georgia who had worked with Sidney Crosby revealed residual balance and vision problems, and Toews received treatment for them.