Marian Hossa stood at the podium on Friday, looking very tan - and very healthy. The latter, obviously, was the important part.
The Blackhawks right wing is feeling like himself again.
General manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville had both said Hossa was feeling better and working out again, three months after suffering that concussion when Raffi Torres hit him in the head in the playoffs. But its one of those things you need to see for yourself. And on Friday, as the Blackhawks convention began, Hossa was again the picture of health.
Im back here for the first time, talking to you guys, and I feel much better, said Hossa, who received a deafening reception from fans at the opening ceremonies later Friday afternoon. It took a long time to just come back. After some point, I tried to do some things, started working out, and things are on the level of where I wanted to be. Im happy where I am so far.
It wasnt the easiest time for Hossa. When he last talked to the media in early May, he sounded tired and very low, emotionally. The concussion, and all its repercussions - sitting in dark rooms, sleeping all the time - were audible in his voice. More than two months later, however, Hossa is back to himself and doing just fine with biking, lifting and other training habits.
And hes hoping to be 100 percent come training camp.
The way I feel right now I believe Ill be ready for camp, said Hossa, who added he isnt feeling any concussion symptoms right now. Everything could be different when Im on the ice, if I get hit or if someone pushes me. But without contact, Im doing everything on a high level.
Hossa is trying to look at the present and the future - to a point. Hes not thinking about the potential issues his concussion could cause him down the road. And hes also not concerned with Torres suspension now being 21 games instead of the original 25 he was penalized for that hit.
Im sure hes going to learn, still, from sitting out 21 games, Hossa said.
Hossa took his time in healing these last few months. And depending on how the NHL labor situation goes, he could have more time to prepare for training camp. Either way, hes healthy again and looking to stay that way.
Im able to train on a high level right now. Thats my goal so far, and I feel good, he said. Im happy with where I am.