Crawford, Hossa, Handzus can play opener

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford and forwards Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus will play in the season opener on Tuesday after being held out of the final preseason game for precautionary reasons, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Monday.

Crawford missed the final preseason game on Saturday due to lower-body stiffness after playing in two preseason games. Hossa (upper body) and Handzus (lower body) did not appear in any preseason games.

The Blackhawks had all 23 roster players participate in practice at the Johnny’s IceHouse West on Monday.

“Everybody who was on the ice is able to play,” Quenneville said. “[Crawford] is starting. Handzus and Hossa are ready to play.”

Hossa and Handzus played through injuries during the playoffs last season. Hossa said one of the discs in his back was shooting into his nerves, and he couldn't feel his right foot during the Stanley Cup finals. Handzus played with a broken wrist and a torn MCL during the Stanley Cup finals and required surgery in both areas in the offseason.

Both players said Monday they were prepared to play in the season opener.

“I feel pretty good, so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be starting the first game,” Hossa said. “So I’m ready to go. I haven’t played a preseason game, but I obviously wasn’t ready for them. It was a better idea to rest up and get well. Right now, I had three or four good practices, and I feel comfortable.”

Handzus said. “If I’m ready, there’s not going to be any limitations. I’m good.”

Handzus, who was acquired in a trade last season, was placed into the second-line center role in the playoffs last season and had three goals, eight assists and a plus-7 rating in 23 playoff games. He is expected to start the season on the second line.

Hossa had 17 goals and 14 assists in 40 regular-season games and seven goals and nine assists in 22 playoff games last season. He is also expected to play on the second line.