Reinforcements are on their way to the West Side, as injured Blackhawks Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford all rejoined the team at Thursday’s practice, and all look to be on track for imminent returns to duty.
Hossa, who left Tuesday’s game against Vancouver after being hit on the back of the head by Canucks forward Jannik Hansen, was optimistic about his return to duty in time for Friday’s game versus the San Jose Sharks. Hansen was given a two-minute penalty for roughing on the play, and drew a one-game suspension from the NHL for the hit.
“I feel pretty good this morning. I followed the protocol with the team, I did the practice, and I feel good,” Hossa said. “Right after, I was shaky; that’s why I didn’t return. We had the day off, and it settled down, so I feel much better.”
"It was very encouraging that he felt good yesterday, and he responded feeling good during practice and afterwards, which is a big test for us and him," Head Coach Joel Quenneville said. "That's definitely very good news."
Meanwhile, netminder Crawford, who has not skated with his teammates in nearly a week while dealing with an upper-body injury, returned as well. Though Coach Q will turn to Ray Emery on Friday night, he says that his starter is ready to get the call when needed.
“Corey felt good today, and he could play tomorrow,” said Quenneville.
Seabrook, who missed Tuesday’s game with a lower-body injury, has been cleared to play Friday night.
“Seabs is good; he wants to play and he’s going to play,” Quenneville said.
Record within reach: A modern NHL record is in danger Friday, as with a win or overtime loss, the Blackhawks will achieve the mark of 17 games to start the year without a regulation loss. Hockey fans are buzzing around Chicago, and it seems the only place to get away from it is in the Blackhawks’ dressing room.
“The guys have had a good demeanor and approach to the process,” Coach Q said. “You have to commend the guys on their focus.”
But, still, it’d be nice to make history on Friday, wouldn’t it?
“It’d be nice to win the next game,” said Q.
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