Marian Hossa says he’s recovering slowly from brutal hit
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org May 3, 2012 8:48PM
Updated: June 5, 2012 11:43AM
If it’s possible for a person to sound concussed when speaking over the phone from a different continent, Marian Hossa did Thursday.
The Blackhawks star sounded lethargic and in pain, the lingering results of getting illegally hit by Phoenix Coyotes headhunter Raffi Torres in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series weeks ago.
The easy-going and gracious Hossa many have gotten to know over his Hall-of-Fame career seemed distant. The only sign of his typical affability were the “hi’’ and “thank yous” he offered after questions.
Speaking for the first time since getting carted off on a stretcher after getting hit in the head by Torres on April 17, Hossa said he feels better after suffering a concussion. But he doesn’t feel like himself yet.
“It’s going to take some time,” Hossa said from Slovakia.
As with all head injuries, there is no telling how much time Hossa will need to recover. Like Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby, Hossa, 33, should take a cautious approach, especially being so late in his career. Hossa, though, said he believes he’ll be ready by training camp.
“It’s not fun, especially the first days, just being in a dark room and one week of sitting at home,” Hossa said. “The good thing is that I can move around now. Things are bothering me less than before. So it’s a good sign. But it’s small steps.”
Hossa offered a chilling account of what he remembers from Torres’ hit, which isn’t much.
“I remember a few seconds of seeing Dr. [Michael] Terry,” Hossa said. “I don’t remember being in our dressing room. I just remember a little bit in the ambulance, and I woke up in the hospital.”
Hossa said he suffered a concussion when he was with the Detroit Red Wings, but described it as “a very light one.”
“Basically, I’ve never gotten hit this way,” Hossa said. “It was the biggest one for sure.”
Torres was suspended 25 games for it April 21 and did reach out to Hossa. Torres, who has a lengthy suspension history, opted to appeal his suspension Thursday through the National Hockey League Players’ Association. They are expected to meet with commissioner Gary Bettman, the arbitrator in this case, soon.
“It was nice that he contacted me,” said Hossa, who didn’t suffer any other major injuries. “But I told him, I know he’s playing that way, but the one thing that I was upset with was the jump.
“If he didn’t jump, I would maybe get hit, but not hit in my head and he wouldn’t have the 25 games. Basically, I was upset about the jumping. The phone conversation was pretty quick, and that was it.”
Hossa saw replays and hoped Torres’ hit had nothing to do with Andrew Shaw’s run-in with goalie Mike Smith in Game 2. He was angry that another player would leave his feet to make a check like that and very surprised no penalties were called.
It’s the exact hit the NHL is trying to eliminate as disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan determined that Torres violated three rules.
“I believe he wouldn’t have gotten 25 games if he didn’t have the history,” Hossa said. “He didn’t get the 25 games because of the hit on me. ... Hopefully, he’s going to learn from it.
“But the other way, it’s not going to be helping me or my team.”