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Bowman stands pat with injuries
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 11/11/2009 11:41 PM

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When it comes to reacting to injuries, Dave Bolland's back surgery being the latest, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman is doing what other GMs have done this season as star players drop seemingly one after another - nothing.

Welcome to the salary cap era in the NHL.

It's happening in Detroit, in Boston and with the Hawks. With payrolls right up against the cap, the first option when key injuries happen is for teams to test their depth organizationally and try to push on with what they have rather than react and make a trade.

That's what Bowman has done as the Hawks have lost top-six forwards Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and now Bolland.

Bowman said he wouldn't put Bolland on long-term injured reserve to clear cap space because that would be money he'd have to shed when Bolland returns in February or March.

The Hawks never did put Hossa or Adam Burish on long-term IR.

"It's not easy to orchestrate things like (a trade) when you know this guy is going to be back," Bowman said. "If he was going to be done for the season, then it might be a different story.

"It was the same thing with Burish and it was the same thing with Hossa. We know these guys are going to be back during the season so you don't want to have to undo something later because these guys are ready to go and you can't get them into the lineup.

"This is a realistic problem for teams. That's why the first approach has to be look at your guys from within and go with the players you have and see how that works."

Hossa getting close: Marian Hossa will start participating in light contact drills either today or Friday.

The Hawks start a six-game road trip Nov. 19 at Calgary, and Hossa will return from shoulder surgery at some point in those six games.

"On that road trip he's going to play for sure; it's just a matter of whether it's the beginning, the middle or the end," Stan Bowman said. "I think we'll have a better feel for that early next week and maybe set target a date then.

"At this point we're just trying to get him involved in the practices to a complete degree. He looks ready to go now. It's just a matter of getting the clearance from the doctors."

GM meetings: NHL general managers concluded their meetings in Toronto on Wednesday, deciding to keep the trapezoid behind the net as it is and agreeing to form a small committee examine head shots. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the GMs the salary cap wasn't expected to change drastically from its present $56.8 million.