The days of showing up to the rink lacing up his skates and hitting the ice are a thing of the past for Marian Hossa.

Now the Blackhawks winger needs to arrive early for stretching exercises to loosen and strengthen an ailing back that kept him off the ice for a week and has his status in doubt for the Hawks' season opener against the Capitals on Tuesday night at the United Center.

"I definitely know I have to come a little bit early and do extra stuff to warm up" Hossa 34 said after the Hawks' training camp session Friday at the United Center. "But I think at my age lots of guys do that."

When Hossa joined his teammates on the ice Friday it was an encouraging sign that he'll be able to play against the Capitals after the Hawks raise their 2012-13 Stanley Cup championship banner.

"I'm definitely much better" Hossa said. "I took my time. ... (Thursday) I skated on my own and (Friday) morning I felt pretty good so it was time for me to go with the team."

Hossa said barring a setback he'll be ready for the opener.

"I believe so" he said. "We'll see how it's going to go. I try to go day by day. It's been a long year for me lots of hockey games and the last few years were so many hockey games for me so I want to make sure I take care of my body right away. If I have to miss a couple (games) I'll do that. If I can play and feel 100 percent I'll play."

Hossa sat out Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins in June but returned to play the final three games despite numbness in his right foot because of a disk problem in his back. He avoided surgery during the offseason.