As Marian Hossa lay on the ice, having just taken a brutal hit from Raffi Torres in last year’s postseason, the immediate concern was for his safety as a human being, and whether or not he’d be able to recover at all after being carried off the ice in a stretcher. Once it was confirmed that he would be okay, the question became whether or not we’d see him on the ice anytime soon.
Obviously, the NHL lockout prevented him from rushing back and playing early on, which was one of the few benefits of the 100+ day nonsense. But as the Chicago Blackhawks prepare for the 2013 season, they now know that they will do so with a completely healthy Marian Hossa in the lineup.
But what should the Hawks expect to get out of the veteran forward who is coming off of an injury like that?
Last regular season was the best of Hossa’s time in Chicago. He played in 81 games and finished with 77 points. Not only was he strong offensively, he continued to fly under the radar was one of the better defensive forwards in the game as well. Coming off of that injury, however, no one knows if he can return to that high of a level in 2013.
It’s obviously been a long road back to this point for Hossa. There were questions about whether or not we’d even see him on the ice, given his awful state that followed the injury. The fact that he’s even ready for the season to begin is impressive enough. Now comes the intrigue that will come along with his return to game action.
It wouldn’t be a stretch at all to say that Marian Hossa is a wild card for the Blackhawks in 2013. We all know that he’s headed towards the Hall of Fame when his career is all said and done. Whether or not he can continue playing at the high level that we’ve seen throughout his career remains to be seen.
That’s the hope, of course. But until he proves otherwise, we are left to wonder what type of performance the team will get out of him this season.