Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa practiced Thursday after taking a forearm to the back of the head from the Vancouver Canucks’ Jannik Hansen, and coach Joel Quenneville said Hossa could play Friday against the San Jose Sharks.
“I thought he felt much better today,” Quenneville said. “He said he felt good after practice as well. We’ll see how he is [Friday] and with a chance of playing [Friday] night.”
Hansen’s forearm connected with the back of Hossa’s head while the two players were advancing for a loose puck in the air with 18:55 remaining in the third period of Tuesday’s game. Hossa lay face-first on the ice for a few minutes while being attended to by the Blackhawks medical staff. He eventually left the ice under his own power.
“Obviously he surprised with a hit from behind,” Hossa said Thursday. “He hit me pretty hard in the back of the head. Right after, I was shaky. That’s basically why I didn’t return, because I was shaky. We had the day off, and it kind of slowed down. This morning I woke up and felt much better.”
Hossa said he doesn’t believe he suffered a concussion on the hit.
“No, I don’t believe [I had a concussion] because more than anything he surprised me with a punch from behind,” Hossa said. “I was shaky for a few minutes right after that, which is why I didn’t return to the game.”
Hansen met with the NHL on Wednesday and was given a one-game suspension for the hit.
“It’s up to the league,” Hossa said of the suspension. “They’re making the decisions. But I’m glad at least one game.
Hopefully, more guys learn from it. He said he was reaching for the puck. I didn’t buy it, because when you’re reaching for the puck you don’t hit somebody that hard to the head.”
The Blackhawks did not practice Wednesday, but Hossa was evaluated by the team.
“It was a very encouraging that he felt good [Wednesday], and he responded feeling good during practice and afterwards, which is a big test for us and him,” Quenneville said. “That’s definitely very good news.”
Hossa suffered a head injury last season when Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres launched himself into Hossa during Game 3 of a first-round playoff series. Hossa had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher. He missed the Blackhawks’ final three games of the season and was cleared to play again in early December.
“We were all concerned,” Quenneville said of Hossa’s latest collision. “We all saw the situation in the playoffs and you see it again. These things do have a history, so it was definitely a concern.”
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford and defenseman Brent Seabrook returned to practice Thursday, but goaltender Ray Emery did not participate because of a family commitment. Seabrook will play Friday, and Emery will make his fourth straight start in place of Crawford.
Crawford has missed the Blackhawks’ past three games with an upper-body injury. He is 7-0-3 with a 1.65 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage this season.
Seabrook missed Tuesday’s game against the Canucks because of a lower-body injury. He briefly left Sunday’s game with the Los Angeles Kings after being hit in the groin area by a slap shot.