Hossa returns to ice, could play in opener

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa returned to the ice Thursday after sitting out about a week with an upper-body injury, and he could play in the season opener, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Thursday.

Hossa has not played in any of the Blackhawks’ five preseason games after aggravating a previous injury last week. Quenneville said Hossa will not play in the final preseason game on Saturday. The Blackhawks’ season opener is on Tuesday.

“He skated about 40 minutes,” Quenneville said after Thursday’s practice at Johnny’s IceHouse West. “He did pretty well. Hopefully, he’ll join our practice [Friday,] but he’ll skate anyway. But he felt good; he’s good.

“He’s not going to play Saturday, but we expect him, we’re hoping that he’s going to be playing on Tuesday.”

Quenneville wasn’t worried about Hossa not being physically prepared for the season opener despite not playing in the preseason.

“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.”

Hossa suffered a back injury during the Stanley Cup finals last season. He said one of the discs in his back was shooting into his nerves, and he couldn't feel his right foot. He was scratched from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals and returned for the remainder of the series, but wasn’t as effective in the final three games. He said surgery was a possibility after the season, but he ended up not needing it.

Hossa said on Sept. 12 his back was feeling stronger during the team’s camp at Notre Dame. He played in three days of scrimmages at Notre Dame and hasn’t played in a game or scrimmage since Sept. 15.

Hossa had 17 goals and 14 assists in 40 regular-season games and seven goals and nine assists in 22 playoff games last season.

Hossa was unavailable to the media on Thursday.