Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
As far as I know, scoring more goals isn't one of the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, so it's safe to say Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa is fully healthy following a brutal hit in last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Hossa has found the back of the net four times already in two games this season to go with one assist and nine shots on goal.
None of the goals have come on the power play, so Hossa's plus/minus is already a robust plus-three. He also has done his fantasy owners a service by spending six minutes in the penalty box.
If the season started on time, Hossa probably wouldn't have been ready to skate. The right winger was leveled by Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres during Game 3 of Chicago's first-round series last April and had to be stretchered off the ice. Since Torres left his feet to lower a blind-side shoulder to Hossa's head, he was suspended for 21 games.
Hossa only resumed skating in October and wasn't medically cleared to return to action until mid-December. Hossa declared himself 100 percent healthy in early January but confirmed that he is still not back to feeling 100 percent on the ice after the season opener, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"I tried to keep it simple, especially in the beginning," Hossa said. "Nothing too fancy. Keep it to short shifts (and) try to get into it. I hadn't played in a long time. The timing isn't there yet but it's going to come with the games."
The early results say that Hossa is already in midseason form.
The veteran winger is ranked third overall in Yahoo! fantasy leagues behind Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson and Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek, and his four goals are tied for the league lead with Anaheim Ducks winger Daniel Winnik.
Hossa is coming off a 29-goal, 77-point season, his best since he posted 100 points (43 G, 57 A) in 2006-07 with the Atlanta Thrashers. He was injury plagued in his first two seasons with the Blackhawks, playing only 57 games in 2009-10 and 65 in 2010-11 but turning in 81 last season.
Hossa has long been a player who can average close to one point per game, but he was perhaps best known for being on the losing side of the Stanley Cup Finals both times when Pittsburgh played Detroit in back-to-back seasons (he played with the Penguins in 2007-08 and the Red Wings in 2008-09) before finally winning the Cup in 2009-10 with the Blackhawks.
In Chicago, Hossa has joined a strong top six that includes Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dave Bolland. He skated on Chicago's second- most utilized power-play unit in 2010-11 with Toews, Sharp and Tomas Kopecky and produced 19 PPP and then had 20 PPP last season as a member of Chicago's top power-play line with Sharp, Toews and Kane.
However, the Blackhawks ranked in 26th in the NHL last season with a PP% of 15.1. Meanwhile, they ranked fifth in goals scored. All those even-strength goals mean better plus/minus differentials for the Blackhawks top guys. Fortunately, Chicago still sees enough chances with the man advantage for Hossa to turn in decent power-play point totals.
The only thing lacking from Hossa's fantasy game last season was his PIM. He only spent 20 minutes in the box in 81 games, a rate of 0.25 minutes per game. Hossa has a career mark of 0.54 penalty minutes per game, and has already drawn three minors in two games.
If Hossa can keep his PIM rate closer to 2010-11, when he racked up 32 penalty minutes in 65 games, it will only make him that much better of a fantasy asset.
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