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Thursday, September 19, 2013
Hossa to miss next four preseason games

By Scott Powers

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa will miss the next four preseason games due to an upper-body injury, coach Joel Quenneville said on Thursday.

"He aggravated an injury there," Quenneville said after Thursday's morning skate. "We're going to keep him off. I wouldn't expect him in the next four games here in the next five nights. We'll see how he progresses after that."

Quenneville said Hossa could play in the final preseason game on Sept. 28 and is expected to play in the season opener on Oct. 1.

"Whether we're talking seriousness of it or not, we feel he'll be back and he'll be fine," Quenneville said.

Hossa suffered a back injury during the Stanley Cup finals last season. He said one of the discs in his back was shooting into his nerves, and he couldn't feel his right foot. He was scratched from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals and returned for Game 4, but he wasn't as effective in the final three games of the series. Hossa said surgery was a possibility after the season, but he was able to avoid it.

Hossa, who will turn 35 in January, claimed his back was feeling better and stronger during training camp at the University of Notre Dame last week. He played in three days of scrimmages at Notre Dame and was kept out of Monday's scrimmage at the United Center and the team's first preseason game on Tuesday.

Quenneville said he is pleased with Hossa's play early in the camp.

"He was skating pretty good," Quenneville said. "We liked the way he was moving out there. But that's where we're at."

Hossa has dealt with a variety of injuries since joining the Blackhawks in 2009. He had lower-body injuries in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, suffered a severe head injury during the 2012 playoffs and missed time with upper- and lower-body injuries last season.

Hossa had 17 goals and 14 assists in 40 regular-season games and seven goals and nine assists in 22 playoff games last season.

In other injury news:

• Captain Jonathan Toews could play in his first preseason game of the season on Friday, Quenneville said. Toews hasn't participated in any of the team's scrimmages or games since training camp began last week due to a lower-body injury. "He wants to play badly," Quenneville said.

• Defenseman Mike Kostka was unable to practice on Thursday due to an upper-body injury he suffered when he was illegally checked by Detroit Red Wings forward Teemu Pulkkinen on Tuesday. Pulkkinen was given a game misconduct and a five-minute major boarding penalty at 2:16 of the first period. Kostka did not return to the game. "He's OK," Quenneville said of Kostka. "He didn't skate today. He's better obviously than the other day. ... It was a very dangerous hit. That's [the NHL's deal whether to suspend Pulkkinen,] but interesting shift for the kid."

• Forward Brandon Pirri was unable to finish practice on Thursday due to an ongoing injury, according to Quenneville. Pirri missed the scrimmages on Sunday and Monday and their preseason opener on Tuesday. He will also sit out Thursday's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. "Pirri, he skated, didn't finish practice in the end," Quenneville said. "We'll see." Quenneville wouldn't say whether Pirri's injury would affect whether he makes the team.