News leaked earlier this week that Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa(notes) had a lingering shoulder injury that might require surgery. Change that "might" to "will," as the Blackhawks announced late Thursday that Hossa will go under the knife on Friday to "repair a small tear" in the rotator cuff of his right shoulder.
Any chance they had this press release ready to roll when it started to look like Mark Buehrle was going to be perfect and dominate the local headlines tonight?
"Marian's injury did not respond sufficiently to our non-operative treatment over the last three weeks so we have collectively decided today to go ahead with the surgery," Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman said. "Marian is a franchise player and we want what is best for him and the Blackhawks long-term. This was a mutual decision and one we feel very confident is the right one."
"Marian has a small right rotator cuff tear that he has been battling for a while and because he is not at 100 percent with non-operative treatment he is undergoing operative treatment tomorrow," Blackhawks Head Team Physician Dr. Michael Terry said. "With this type of tear we anticipate a four month post-operative recovery period, after which we expect his shoulder to be 100 percent. This is the best thing for Marian and his career long-term."
"After consulting with my family and the Blackhawks, I have no doubt that this is the correct decision," Hossa said. "I plan on being a member of the Blackhawks for a very long time, which is why I want to get this done and begin my career in Chicago at 100 percent."
The Detroit Red Wings knew Hossa was battling a slightly torn cuff when they signed him last summer. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said his team knew about the injury too, in a chat with the Chicago Tribune:
"We were aware of it from the very minute we started negotiations with his agent (Ritch Winter) that he had a sore shoulder going back to the playoffs," Bowman said. "He played all the way up to Game 7 [of the finals] so it wasn't something he couldn't play with."
Here's the thing: The news leaked on the Daily Herald Web site that Hossa may need surgery, almost a week after he met his new adoring public at a rally with nary a word about his injury. We've given the Blackhawks the benefit of many doubts during this tumultuous summer, but the failure to disclose that Hossa was damaged goods in light of the term of his contract (12 years) and the issues of fragility that marred the player he effectively replaced (Martin Havlat(notes)) is unacceptable and borderline deceptive. Neil Hayes of the Sun-Times feels the same vibe.
We're sure Hawks fans are hoping there aren't any more "surprises" once that shoulder's being operated on.