Right wing Marian Hossa and defenseman Steve Montador are improving from their respective injuriesand starting their summer workouts. And if training camp does begin in September, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is very optimistic that the two will be ready to play by then.Hossa and Montador both suffered concussions that cost them the end of their seasons in 2011-12. But Bowman, speaking on a conference call on Tuesday, said the two are making progress.Both are on the mend and starting their summer training programs, getting ready for the season, Bowman said. Its still June, and camp isnt until September, so its not anything you can guarantee on how they progress. But at this point, were very optimistic the way both are feeling. I suppose that can change, but most likely its full steam ahead as they ramp up over the summer.Hossa was taken off on a stretcher after Phoenix forward Raffi Torres hit him in the head in Game 3 of their first roundplayoff series in April. Hossa said in early May it was the first time he had suffered a head injury of this magnitude and he was struggling to get better. Torres appealed the 25-game suspension he was given for that hit; a ruling on that appeal has yet to be announced.Montador suffered his concussion against Colorado in early February. He returned against the New Jersey Devils on March 27 but played just over four minutes before getting reinjured.
Their improvement is good news for the Blackhawks and Bowman, who added that left wingDaniel Carcillo is also close to 100 percent after undergoing season-ending knee surgery in January. Right wing Ben Smith also ended the season with surgery (hip and hernia) on March 15, and Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement soon after the surgerythat Smith was expected to make a full recovery in about 15 weeks. Bowman said Carcillo andSmith are also showing improvement.(Carcillo has) been skating about five or six months now and he would be ready to roll even if camp started in a week or two, Bowman said. Smiths on track as well. Hes probably another few weeks (away) to being ready to start a training camp. But by September he should certainly be 100 percent.Smith signed a two-year deal on Monday, as did forward Brandon Bollig. Goaltender Carter Hutton was signed to a one-year deal and Alexander Salaks was officially released. Bowman said Salak, who had been placed on unconditional waivers over the weekend, indicated he wanted a change of scenery.I think Alex looked at the situation and saw he was likely going to be in similar position. And he didnt want that. He made it clear he didnt want to play in the AHL. At that point he ready to move on, Bowman said.He was hopeful of making NHL a year ago and it was close between he and (Ray) Emery. He just had an up and down year (in Rockford), got injured, and Carter Hutton came up and really surprised all of us with how well he played. He gave the Rockford team a chance to make strong push in the second half.