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Hossa's debut still on schedule
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/29/2009 12:00 AM

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Seeing No. 81 flying around the ice at practice Wednesday brought a smile to the face of Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.

But even though Marian Hossa practiced with his new teammates for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery on July 24, the timetable for his Hawks debut hasn't changed.

"I'm still looking for three to four weeks," Hossa said. "I think it's on schedule. The schedule was, I think, around Nov. 25, so hopefully by the time around that date it's going to feel 100 percent."

Hossa looked good skating, passing and shooting, but the strength in his shoulder and arm still is not there.

"I just wanted to feel how the timing is and how the skating is," Hossa said. "It was kind of a little test for me and for the first time, it wasn't too bad. I thought it was going to be worse.

"Obviously, I don't have as much strength in the arm as I would like so I have three to four weeks to work on that."

Hossa wore a white jersey while his teammates had on black and red. White means don't touch. He will be eased back into contact as his return date gets closer.

"I thought he did very good," Quenneville said. "Usually when you get a guy who hasn't skated, or has been basically skating on his own, injected into a practice it usually slows down drills. I think he sped things up today.

"He's got that speed and presence, and the quality and the skill he has. He did a nice job and handled a lot of different drills. It was a good first practice and it helped us."

Clamping down: Could the injuries to Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews actually have helped the Hawks to play a tighter defensive game without their two key players?

The Hawks beat Nashville 2-0 and Minnesota 3-1 without Seabrook and Toews in the lineup. Seabrook is expected to return tonight against Nashville.

"I don't know about that," Joel Quenneville said. "You're going to get injuries. It's how we play, that's what we try to reinforce and instill.

"We try to have the same kind of game plan. Maybe it's an awareness of that check-first mentality can lead to success. We don't want to deviate too much with our mindset."