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Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa is happy to report that his ‘head is clear’

Marian Hoss#81 skates. The Chicago Blackhawks open training camp with an on-ice sessiJohnny's IceHouse West Sunday January 13 2013. |

Marian Hossa #81 skates. The Chicago Blackhawks open training camp with an on-ice session at Johnny's IceHouse West on Sunday, January 13, 2013. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 16, 2013 6:25AM



It almost certainly wasn’t what Blackhawks coaches, players and fans would have wanted. But it might have been what Marian Hossa needed.

Late last week, Hossa was drilled on the ice accidentally by teammate Brandon Bollig. Hossa bounced back up and felt fine — as good a sign as any that the Hawks star is fully healthy with the season opener looming on Saturday.

“It was a good test, and I passed it, I think,” Hossa said.

Hossa suffered a concussion when Phoenix’s Raffi Torres left his feet on an illegal hit during the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last April. It was actually Bollig who first went after Torres following the hit. The lockout wound up being a boon for Hossa, who got extra time to recover and was finally cleared in November.

“Right now, when I step on the ice, my head is clear,” Hossa said. “I wasn’t like that before, when I was still here in November.”

Coach Joel Quenneville said that he has no concerns about his top-line left wing.

“He’s all excited, he’s probably never been in this good of shape in his life,” he said. “He’s fine, he’s ready to go, he’s ready to play.”

Hossa said it took awhile for the concussion symptoms to subside. He spoke with other players who had dealt with concussions, though he declined to name any names other than teammate Jonathan Toews, who missed two months with a concussion last season before returning — perhaps prematurely — for the playoffs. The two skated together over the summer, but Hossa never saw the chiropractic neurologist that Toews credited for getting him back to 100 percent in the fall.

“Johnny told me about it, but I didn’t go because at that point, I felt [comfortable] and I didn’t need to see somebody else,” Hossa said. “I did lots of good things with our guys here, our trainers did [an] excellent job with me.”

Hossa said he feels “fresh” and that his conditioning level is good, but that his timing could take a while to get back. Of course, with so many players idle over the last eight or nine months, he’ll hardly be alone in that regard.

Most importantly, his head feels clear. And as the Bollig hit showed him, he doesn’t need to play timidly in the wake of the concussion.

“You cannot just be playing careful hockey out there,” he said. “I just want to be myself, and right now, I feel happy with where I am.”



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