Marian Hossa skated with the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time Thursday after sitting out some time with an upper-body injury. Head coach Joel Quenneville told ESPN Chicago that the 34-year-old might play in the team’s regular season opener next 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.”
Quenneville is correct; the Blackhawks have a pretty conveniently staggered schedule so they can pick and choose when Hossa returns, or even give him an extra breather. Here’s how their first three games play out before the grind really starts:
Tuesday, Oct. 1: season and home opener against Washington
Saturday, Oct. 5: home against Tampa Bay
Wednesday, Oct. 9: at St. Louis
As you can see, the Blackhawks could give Hossa a significant amount of extra rest if they merely hold him out two or three extra games. They could also ease him into the lineup if he plays all those contests, too.
All things considered, it’s probably an ideal initial setup considering Chicago’s challenging Stanley Cup run.