CHICAGO – Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa carried plenty of anger toward Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres in the days and weeks after a vicious hit that left him severely concussed.
Eventually, Hossa learned to let go of the bitterness.
“In the beginning, I was definitely [angry],” Hossa said Friday at the fifth annual Blackhawks Convention. “Now, as time goes by, you don’t look back, you look ahead. That’s my point of view.”
Torres’ hit left Hossa lying motionless on the ice during Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at the United Center. Hossa was carried off of the ice on a stretcher and rushed to a nearby hospital, and he did not return for the remainder of the series.
Torres received a 25-game suspension for the hit, although the NHL later reduced his penalty to 21 games. Hossa did not criticize the league’s reversal, instead choosing to focus on his own improvement.
Although Hossa has resumed intense off-ice cardiovascular workouts, he has yet to skate. Despite that, he said, he expected to be ready for the start of training camp in September.
“I feel good so far,” said Hossa, who has worked out in his native Slovakia. “I’m able to train at a high level. That’s my goal.”
Labor pains: Although business continued as usual at the Hawks’ convention, players and coaches acknowledged the possibility of a work stoppage if a labor deal was not reached before training camp.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said he was hoping for the best.
“I’m optimistic, but I’m realistic at the same time,” Quenneville said. “Let’s hope they’re being progressive. …
“I don’t know if I’m confident, but I’m hopeful. That’s how I’m going to look at it. I think once we get started, it won’t take long to get playing hockey.”
Staying focused: Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford said he was not bothered by his team’s failed pursuit of goaltender Martin Brodeur.
“I can’t really focus on that stuff,” Crawford said. “I’ve got to worry about what I’m doing and how I’m preparing myself for the season.”
After the Hawks made a pitch to sign the future Hall of Fame goaltender, Brodeur decided to re-sign with the New Jersey Devils. If he had joined the Hawks, Crawford likely would have been demoted to backup duty or traded to another team.
Instead, Crawford is focused on bouncing back from a rocky season.
“It was up and down last year, but I’m fine,” Crawford said. “I’m excited to play hockey. I just want to get out there and compete.”
Hawks bits: General manager Stan Bowman did not rule out the possibility of adding more players via free agency or trades. … Hawks center Dave Bolland grinned when asked whether he could envision playing alongside Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. “Next question,” Bolland said with a smile.