NHL rules Marian Hossa eligible for LTIR

Hossa will head to LTIR soon.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ request to make Marian Hossa eligible for long-term injured reserve has been approved by the NHL, reports The Athletic’s Scott Powers. This means Hossa will be placed on LTIR soon in order to finalize the team’s roster for its season opener Thursday.

The NHL used an independent doctor to evaluate Hossa and Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul to determine whether they would be allowed to go on LTIR. Both teams claimed the players were too injured to play, but league procedure allows for an independent physician to verify that determination.

Reporters like Powers had said repeatedly in recent weeks that the NHL was expected to approve Hossa’s status, but it was still an uncertainty just two days before the start of the season. That understandably made us all sweat a bit, particularly given the implications of an LTIR rejection with Hossa having four years left on his contract. Who knows what would’ve happened then.

It’s a non-issue now, although the Blackhawks still have some work cut out before their roster is ready for the season opener against Pittsburgh. The team still needs to shift around its roster to get as close to $75 million as possible without going over by 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Blackhawks will pass the league’s cap rules with Hossa still on the books, then they’ll presumably place him on LTIR, freeing up an exception to go millions over the cap. That’ll allow the team to call up whoever it wants from Rockford on Thursday in order to take on the Penguins later that night.