Marian Hossa's Injury Could Doom Slovakia's Slim Olympic Medal Hopes

Michael Wagner@MichaelDWagnerSenior Analyst IFebruary 14, 2010

OTTAWA, ON - JANUARY 19:  Marian Hossa #81 of the Chicago Blackhawks talks with ex-teammate Chris Phillips #4 of the Ottawa Senators before a faceoff in a game at Scotiabank Place on January 19, 2010 in Ottawa, Canada.  (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

It seems as though, with one hit, Team Slovakia's Olympic medal hopes might have all but slipped away.

During Saturday night's game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Atlanta Thrashers, Blackhawks star forward Marian Hossa took a hard, but legal, hit from Thrashers forward Colby Armstrong.

Hossa would remain down for a couple minutes, but was able to leave the ice under his own power. But he would not return to the game.

Although the hit was not as vicious as the hit Jonathan Toews took earlier in the season, it was still a rather jarring hit and might have resulted in a concussion.

After the game, coach Joel Quenneville quickly stated that Hossa was doubtful for tomorrow's game in Columbus, but would not say if Hossa was experiencing any concussion-type symptoms.

With this upper body injury to Hossa, it now brings his Olympic eligibility into question, as rosters are to be finalized by Monday.

Injury struck the Slovakian team earlier this week as the teams' other star player, Marian Gaborik, sustained a cut from a skate during practice with his NHL team the New York Rangers.

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Gaborik was held out of Wednesday's game against the Nashville Predators, before returning to the Rangers' lineup Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The success of Slovakia's national team was pinned on the duo of Gaborik and Hossa. If one of them (or both of them) is not 100% or they are unable to compete at all, it could get ugly.

Beyond Hossa and Gaborik, there is not really any high-powered offensive talent and, without one of them, it is unlikely that a single individual can carry them to a medal.

It is unclear whether or not Hossa's injury is a serious one, or if he will be ready for Slovakia's opening round game against the Czech Republic.

If he is not, Slovakia's medal hopes could go from slim, to none.