EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – The Chicago Blackhawks held another practice on Tuesday afternoon, another session in which Marian Hossa didn’t participate.
The Blackhawks right wing has taken “maintenance” days during several practices and morning skates recently. It’s a precautionary tactic, really, one that’s saving the energy and legs of a player who’s played a lot of hockey the last few years and has more coming immediately in the Winter Olympics.
And as long as he’s playing just fine during the games, Hossa will keep taking those rest days.
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Hossa did not practice on Tuesday but is expected to play on Wednesday when the Blackhawks face the Anaheim Ducks. It’s a busy, lengthy road trip for the Blackhawks. Coach Joel Quenneville said he’d be monitoring certain guys, especially the veterans, regarding their rest/practice/recovery time entering the Olympics. And he said if Hossa needs the respites, nobody’s going to know better than the man himself.
“The body usually tells you if you need a day off. Then you take a day off. We’ll let him tell us,” Quenneville said. “We’ve had some days off as well, too. On the game-day skates everybody’s out there, but he feels he doesn’t need it to be ready for the game, you know he’ll be ready.”
Yes, it’s evident that not participating in those 20-30 minute practices and skates aren’t hurting Hossa’s game one bit. He’s on a four-game point streak and his ice time has been 17 minutes/game or better throughout the trip.
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Hossa’s been doing this long enough that he knows when he needs to take a “maintenance” day. The results show he’s been correct in his assessments.
“It is huge when you can have some extra days off, maybe not going on the ice but work on something different in the room or in the gym,” he said. “As long as you feel good on the ice, that’s the most important thing.”