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Hossa, Carcillo to play as Blackhawks near full strength

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Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Blackhawks are 13-0-3 on the season, yet tonight might be the first time they send out their strongest 18-skater lineup of the season.

Marian Hossa passed his concussion tests and will play tonight. And Daniel Carcillo, who's been out since suffering a leg injury in the season-opener, returns to the lineup as the Hawks try to break the NHL record for longest point streak to start a season.

Corey Crawford was at the morning skate Friday, as well, though he'll back up Ray Emery tonight (Henrik Karlsson saw some action during the skate, but will be sent back to Rockford later today).

Even defenseman Steve Montador returned to practice for the first time all season, though he still has some hurdles to clear before he can actually play.

"Good to see everybody back," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Hossa said he feels good after getting hit in the back of the head by Vancouver's Jannik Hansen on Tuesday night. Hansen was suspended one game for the hit.

"I should be ready to go," Hossa said after Friday's skate. "Obviously, I felt good. I passed the test I did on the computer, so I should be fine. I feel good. If I had a little doubt, I wouldn't go, I wouldn't play, I wouldn't practice. Everything's clear."

Quenneville said the Hawks took extra precautions with Hossa, considering the concussion he sustained last April in the playoffs. Hossa wasn't cleared from that one until mid-November.

"He's got to make sure he's comfortable and we're comfortable with him playing," Quenneville said. "We always look at the history -- there's some hurdles, and tests you've got to make sure you face and pass. And organizationally, he's ready to go and he's cleared."

As for Carcillo, he lost his spot on the top line because of the strong play of rookie Brandon Saad, who took over alongside Jonathan Toews and Hossa after Carcillo's injury. Carcillo joins MIchael Frolik and Marcus Kruger on a suddenly very intriguing fourth line.

Carcillo -- who tore his ACL last season -- was cleared last week, and has been eagerly waiting for his chance.

"When you miss as much time as I have in the last two years, you really realize how much you love this game and love being around the guys in the room," he said. "It puts everything into perspective. We have a short lifespan. I'm definitely taking it day by day and living in the moment, for sure."

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Mark Lazerus was honored nationally by the Associated Press Sports Editors for three straight years at the Post-Tribune, was named one of the top three columnists in Indiana for three straight years and has won more than 20 statewide writing awards. He has covered Notre Dame for Sun-Times Media, and now covers the Blackhawks.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Lazerus published on February 22, 2013 4:55 PM.

Watch Live: Blackhawks' Morning Skate was the previous entry in this blog.

For Hawks, Bolland out, Crawford in, Montador working his way back is the next entry in this blog.

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