There were times when Marian Hossa wondered if he'd ever play hockey again.
Those were the days immediately following the illegal hit he took to the head from Raffi Torres in Game 3 of the first-round playoff series last spring between the Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes.
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"Especially the beginning was really, really difficult," said Hossa, who suffered a serious concussion. "You start thinking about what if this, what if that in the future, but thank God everything went pretty good. I took a lot of time off and after that I started training and I think that was the right decision."
Hossa is the Hawks' nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy, which goes annually to the NHL player who demonstrates dedication and perseverance to the game along with sportsmanship.
Hossa was nominated by the Chicago chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Each of the NHL's 30 teams has one nominee.
Hossa wasn't cleared to play until November but because of the lockout didn't miss any time. He had 16 goals and 28 points going into Friday's game against Nashville.
It took Hossa almost seven months to fully recover from the hit by Torres.
"I took some time and worked as hard as I could to get back in game shape and the shape I would be able to perform like before," Hossa said. "I'm glad I had that time. I'm playing pretty healthy and pleased with how everything went."
Hossa also does a lot of charity work both here and back home in Slovakia with his own Hoss's Heroes.
"I love to help out," Hossa said. "I've got a little charity thing back home in Slovakia helping kids. I also have a program that helps kids with no money basically buy equipment for them to play hockey because it's so expensive and it's a hard time for parents."
Because Hossa made such a quick exit in the playoffs last spring, he is looking forward to making an impact this time.
"That's why I'm here and that's what I'm trying to do," Hossa said. "The people here and my teammates and myself are counting on that."
Emery sits it out:
Goalie Ray Emery skated on his own before Friday's morning team skate but didn't dress for the game against Nashville.
Emery has a lower body injury coach Joel Quenneville doesn't believe is serious.
"He came out of his last game a little sore," Quenneville said. "He felt good yesterday and felt good prior to going on the ice (Friday). He didn't get a ton of work out there today, but there was good progress."
Quenneville left the door open for Saturday's game against Phoenix with regard to Emery playing.
"We'll see," Quenneville said. "We might give it more time."
Carter Hutton, recalled from Rockford on Thursday, dressed as Corey Crawford's backup on Friday.
Defenseman Michal Rozsival (upper body) also skated on Friday on his own, but wasn't in the lineup against the Predators.
Patrick Sharp, who missed his third straight game with a shoulder issue, thinks he will accompany the team to Western Canada for next week's two-game trip to Vancouver and Edmonton…Joel Quenneville said rookie Drew LeBlanc would also make the road trip.