Bowman: Hossa 'feeling much better'

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Bowman: Hossa 'feeling much better'

NEWARK, N.J. Marian Hossa didnt sound so good when he talked to the media on May 3, a little more than two weeks after Raffi Torres head shot on him gave him a concussion. But Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said his right wing is starting to feel more like himself.

Hossa is feeling much better, Bowman said Wednesday when he was in New York for a brief NHL general managers meeting. And while theres still plenty of offseason remaining, Bowman is hoping Hossa will be back on schedule.

Were sitting here in May, projecting out to training camp in September: I cant predict it, but Im very encouraged that hell be ready to participate by then, Bowman said. Hell get some rest here. I think hell be ready to go. He had a good (2011-12) season with that rest (last summer). Were hoping this summer will provide that, too.

Torres was suspended 25 games for that hit and recently looked to appeal that number. Gary Bettman said Wednesday that there will be a decision on Torres appeal in the not too distant future.

Yes, Hossa did benefit from the longer summer last season, both with production and lack of in-season injuries. The big difference this time is the big season-ending injury Hossa suffered in April, and the unpredictability of its recovery time.

So the Blackhawks will be encouraged by the reports theyre getting on Hossa. The forward spoke to the media earlier this month about his recovery, which wasnt going so well at the time. At the time Hossa was just starting to take walks again and had been sleeping a lot. Even then, however, he hoped the long summer would give him proper time to recover.

So far its small steps, but I believe Ill be ready, he said then. Its a long time until training camp and I have a long time to recover.

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks give up season-high seven goals

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Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls visit Bucks in final regular season meeting on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Can the Bulls get one on the Bucks? The Bulls are 0-3 against the Bucks so far this season and it hasn't been pretty. The Bucks have won the previous three meetings all by double digits and by an average of 19 points. The youth and athleticism of the Bucks has been a tough matchup for the Bulls so far.

2. Containing Giannis. There may be no stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Bulls can at least try to contain him. Antetokounmpo is averaging 23 points and nearly nine rebounds per game. In three games against the Bulls this year he has averaged 29 points, 10 rebounds and 7.3 assists per contest. If the Bulls are to stay in the game, they will need to keep him to numbers lower than that.

3. Playoff implications. The Bulls playoff hopes are still alive with nine games remaining, but things are looking a bit bleak. The Bulls are a game and a half out of the eighth playoff spot, but only 3.5 games behind two teams tied for the No. 5 seed, the Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks have won three in a row to improve their position.

4. Mirotic on a roll. Streaky play is nothing new to Nikola Mirotic, but he's on a good run currently. After scoring a season-high 28 points on Wednesday against the Pistons, Mirotic followed that up with 15 points against the 76ers. Since missing three straight games earlier this month, Mirotic has scored in double figures in five of the last seven games and is averaging 15.6 points during that stretch.

5. Beginning of a tough stretch. The Bulls' playoff hopes could be made or broken in the next three games. After taking on the Bucks, which occupy a playoff spot, the Bulls host two more Eastern Conference playoff teams in Cleveland and Atlanta. The Bulls need to string some wins together and this is not an easy stretch to do so against.

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