Its starting to look like one of the Chicago Blackhawks‘ biggest weapons could be ready for the regular season opener next week. After sitting out for the preseason, Marian Hossa is expected to return to action against the Washington Capitals to kick off the season. He’ll join the rest of the Blackhawks as they celebrate their latest Stanley Cup Championship on home ice.
The injury, diagnosed as an upper-body issue, actually stems back to last June when Chicago was facing the Boston Bruins in the final round of the postseason. Hossa claimed one of the discs in his back was shooting into his nerves, causing him to lose the feeling in his right foot. He sat out Game 3 against Boston, ironically the last game Chicago lost in the finals before winning out and taking home their second Cup in four years.
Hossa was able to avoid surgery, however the injury was re-aggravated a couple weeks ago, resulting in him sitting out the preseason. According to coach Joel Quenneville, though, the team fully expects Hossa on the ice next week after his recent return to practice.
“He skated about 40 minutes,” Quenneville said after Thursday’s practice. “He did pretty well. But he felt good; he’s good. He’s not going to play Saturday, but we expect him, we’re hoping that he’s going to be playing on Tuesday.”
Despite not seeing any live game action since June, Quennville doesn’t think Hossa will have any problem getting back on his game come puck-drop Tuesday.
“He skated a lot,” Quenneville said. “I thought he skated well in the Notre Dame segment and back here for a few days. He’s been off for probably a week now, but I think if he’s ready, he’ll definitely play. If not, we got time in between after [the season opener.] We’re shooting for Tuesday.”
The Blackhawks certainly have enough talent on their roster to survive without Hossa if he needs to take any additional time. However, if he does indeed make his comeback Tuesday, expect Chicago to pick up right where they left off last season.