Marian Hossa was skating around the ice on Thursday, looking very Hossa-like.
The right wing ended last season triumphant with another Stanley Cup but in pain from a pinched nerve in his back, an injury that kept him out of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final and hampered him the final three contests.
But on Thursday, Hossa said he’s feeling good and hopes that will continue through a full season — and beyond.
Hossa’s had his share of injuries, the back issue being the latest. He fought through it last spring and didn’t need surgery this summer, taking several shots for it instead. But he knows it’s something he’ll have to keep an eye on during the season — longer, actually.
“The rest of my life,” Hossa said with a laugh, when asked about dealing with injuries. “I have to be smart about it and do a lot of stretches and exercises to help make it stronger, definitely. I had a couple of shots in the summer with my back and a lot of rehab, making it stronger. That was the key to make it better. When they told me I didn’t nee the surgery I was happy. It’s been a good decision so far.”
Hossa, thus far, will take contact once the Blackhawks start scrimmaging. But coach Joel Quenneville said they’ll keep an eye on things.
“That works itself out,” he said. “It’s nice to see he’s started here and ready to go. We get a pretty good feel from our staff. It’s something we’re always aware of, health and backing off guys if necessary be it ice time in games or practice days.”
Hossa has been down this injury road before. He’s hoping one of these seasons he’ll go from start to finish, injury free. This one would be a good one. And he’ll take extra care with that back to ensure it doesn’t become a problem.
“Summer wasn’t too long, but I had a lot of time off and started slowly again, like when I had the concussion,” he said. “My back is much stronger, much better, and that’s the key. Otherwise I wouldn’t be skating or having contact if I had doubt.”