Blackhawks' Marian Hossa practicing after hit from Jannik Hansen
When the Chicago Blackhawks took to the ice to practice on Thursday morning, Marian Hossa was with them.
In Chicago's overtime win over the Canucks on Tuesday, Hossa left the game after taking an elbow to the back of the head from Canucks forward Jannik Hansen early in the third period. He didn't return.
The immediate fear was that Hossa suffered a concussion. It was a major concern based on the way that he stayed down on the ice for a few seconds and his recent history. He suffered a concussion during last year's playoffs from a hit by Phoenix's Raffi Torres and wasn't cleared to return until November. In fact, his father told a Slovakian outlet that Marian said he had suffered a concussion on Tuesday.
Yet there Hossa was on Thursday, practicing with the rest of the team.
If Hossa did suffer a concussoin -- that remains an if -- this is sure to raise a few eyebrows. While the Blackhawks would love to have Hossa back on the ice, it would seem more than concerning that he would already be back practicing if he did suffer a concussion. Let's just say that the Blackhawks don't have the greatest history with concussions.
Hossa said that he doesn't know yet if he will play in Chicago's next game, on Friday. He'll decide before the game based on how he feels.
Hossa being on the ice might have been a welcome sight for the Blackhawks, sure, but hardly palatable to people partial to the Canucks' cause. On Wednesday, Hansen was suspended one game by the NHL.
After the game, Canucks coach Alain Vigneault had made it clear he didn't expect any suspension at all for Hansen. The belief from the Canucks was that it was an accident, a hockey play. Hansen was reaching up to grab the puck out of the air and accidentally hit Hossa. No way would there be a suspension from the league, Vigneault thought.
He was asked on Thursday what he thought of the suspension.
"I don't have much else to say," Vigneault said. "When I saw the NHL video explanation, I had a chuckle."
A lot of the reaction coming out of Vancouver on Thursday is anger. It appeared much of the suspension to Hansen was based on Hossa being injured. As usual, it was one of the key points that Brendan Shanahan emphasized in his suspension video. So if Hossa is playing again already, it just doesn't seem to sit right.
Hansen was asked on Thursday what he thought of Hossa skating.
"Doesn't surprise me, " he said. "But that's all I should probably say."
Think they're upset?
You could certainly grab onto the theory that the Blackhawks played up the injury, although I'd find it completely absurd. I can't imagine they would willfully hold one of their best players out for the third period of a game against a quality opponent just to try to get a player suspended. It just isn't logical.
The suspension was meted, and that should be that. I was of the belief the suspension was warrented, so I think the Canucks should be happy it was just one game and move along.
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