Marian Hossa, the 34-year-old veteran winger of the Chicago Blackhawks, will miss at least the next four games this preseason, according to head coach Joel Quenneville. “We’re going to keep him off. I wouldn’t expect him in the next four games here in the next five nights. We’ll see how he progresses after that.” Quenneville told ESPN.
Recall that despite the fact that the Slovakian winger participated fully in the Blackhawks’ training camp scrimmages at The University of Notre Dame, the back injury he suffered during last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs affected his nerves so much that he lost feeling in his right foot.
Any injury involving the back is risky whenever surgery is avoided or neglected, as Hossa chose. Hossa did not have surgery so he could be back on the ice as soon as possible, and ideally open the season with the team to raise the banner and defend Lord Stanley.
The only logical reason to ever rush Hossa back would be to further acclimate Brandon Saad as second line center, but Saad has looked fully comfortable in scrimmages and will hopefully continue to progress as the very front heavy (four games in five nights) preseason continues.
Going forward, this season should mark a shift in how the Blackhawks should treat Hossa’s injury. Quickly approaching 35, but with an excellent contract which still has seven years on it, the Blackhawks need to make Hossa’s health a top priority.
Missing games will be nothing new for Hossa. Despite the fact that NHL players notoriously play through injuries, the 2012 head injury Raffi Torres gave Hossa, coupled with a back injury, means Hossa should not ever be forced to play through pain.
“Basically, lots of rehab on it (Hossa’s back) making it stronger. That was the key. When they told me I don’t need the surgery I was happy and that was a good decision so far.” Good news in the short term was able to excite Hossa in the short term, but if the Blackhawks’ coaching is not careful with monitoring Hossa’s mileage, ‘Hawks fans will have a lot less to cheer about if No. 81 has to miss more games out of the full 82.
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