Marian Hossa had months of recovery and work ahead of him after he suffered a season-ending concussion last spring.
For the first month, he could do very little. But once he could, Hossa pushed himself to be ready for whenever the season began. And just over a year after that Raffi Torres hit ended his postseason, Hossa is more than back to full speed.
The Chicago chapter of the PHWA nominated Hossa as its Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy candidate for the 2013 season. The Masterton is awarded to the NHL player that most exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the game.
Besides his on-ice work, Hossa has Hoss’s Heroes, a non-profit organization that that provides community service and educational support, as well as assisting with youth sports development. The program, in his native country of Slovakia, helps get equipment to kids who couldn’t otherwise afford it.
The right wing has returned to top form, recording 17 goals and 12 points through his 36 games this season. He’s long been a stellar two-way player, whose defensive side is as noticeable as his scoring one.
For Hossa, those dark post-concussion days are long gone. And while he put in plenty of work to return, Hossa said the lockout actually helped him a bit.
“In one way, I got a little lucky that the season didn’t start when it was supposed to start. That gave me time to make sure I’m 100 percent clear and that was my plus,” Hossa said. “So after that, when I was cleared (in mid-November), I just tried to take some time and work as hard as I could to get in game shape, and the shape I would be able to perform like before. I’m glad I had the time and obviously I’ve been pretty healthy. So I’m pleased with how everything went.”
Still, it wasn’t easy at the start, waiting for his head to physically and mentally heal.
“Especially the beginning was really, really difficult,” he said. “You start thinking about, ‘What if this, what if that (happens) in the future.’ But thank God, everything went pretty well. I took a lot of time off and after that I started training, and that was the right decision.”