Thank You, Marian Hossa

Almost exactly two years ago, we wrote a tribute to one of the finest Blackhawks players of all-time. At that time, a few days before the 2015 NHL Draft and in the wake of the Blackhawks’ third Stanley Cup championship of the decade, it was clear that the salary cap was going to force Patrick Sharp out of Chicago.

Today, fans learned that a progressive skin disorder will force another all-time great Blackhawk out of the Chicago lineup.

Marian Hossa is officially out for the 2017-18 season, but indications are that his career may be over.

He made his NHL debut before this year’s class of draft picks were born – on Oct. 1, 1997. Sadly, the vibe at the United Center as this year’s class hears their names called will be different in the wake of news that Hossa won’t be with the Hawks this season – if ever again.

On July 1, 2009, the Chicago Blackhawks shocked a lot of people by announcing they had signed Hossa. When the deal was announced, some viewed Hossa as a mercenary. He had played in the 2008 Stanley Cup Final as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins; he had been traded to Pittsburgh by Atlanta in the final year of his contract. After losing to the Red Wings, Hossa took a one-year deal with Detroit as he chased the Cup. Of course, the Red Wings lost the 2009 Cup Final to… Pittsburgh.

So after two consecutive losing trips to the Cup Final, Hossa jumped ship to Chicago to join the up-and-coming young Blackhawks.

Hossa signed a 12-year, $62.8 million contract that, at 30, seemed crazy because of the length (hello salary cap). But nobody could argue the quality of the player Chicago – a team that had just made the playoffs for the first time in a decade with a core that was still finishing puberty – was adding.

Fast forward to late-November, when Hossa could actually step on the ice in the Indian head for the first time. Hossa came with an injury that cost him the first six weeks of the 2009-10 regular season, something that caused concern for many Hawks fans who had watched failed veteran additions in the past (Blackhawks legend Bobby Orr for example).

But Hossa came out firing and put up 51 points (24 goals, 27 assists) in 57 games in his first regular season in Chicago. He followed that with three goals and 12 assists in 22 playoff games as he skated to his third straight Stanley Cup Final.

The 2010 postseason provided many memorable moments for Hawks fans. But one may have changed the path of the franchise for the next decade, and it came from Hossa.

I was at that game, sitting in Section 302. I have never heard the United Center that loud.

Hossa got to the mountain top that year with the Blackhawks, and the first person Jonathan Toews handed the Cup was number 81.

The two seasons that followed were good for Hossa individually but the Hawks failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs. On March 20, 2012, Hossa reached 900 career regular season points – a tremendous individual accomplishment. A month later, fans feared the worst when watching Hossa taken off the ice on a stretcher after piece of shit Raffi Torres nearly decapitated Hossa during the first round of the playoffs.

Thankfully, Hossa would return to the Hawks after the lockout shortened the 2012-13 season.

Hossa played his 1,000th game during the shortened 2012-13 season, and added 16 points 22 postseason games to his resume as Chicago won the Stanley Cup for the second time in four seasons. It was the fourth Stanley Cup Final in six seasons for Hossa.

On Oct. 30, 2014, against the Ottawa Senators franchise that drafted him 12th overall 17 years earlier, Hossa recorded his 1,000th career point.

After another 20-goal season from Hossa, the Blackhawks marched all the way to mid-June and won a third Stanley Cup championship.

On Oct. 18, 2016, Hossa finally scored his 500th career regular season goal.

If this is indeed the end of Hossa’s career, it was a remarkable run.

His career numbers will put him in the Hall of Fame easily. He played in 1,309 games, scoring 525 assists with 609 assists for 1,134 points. Hossa added 52 goals and 97 assists in 205 career postseason games, winning his three rings in Chicago.

While many initially believed the Blackhawks were going to get “only” the twilight of Hossa’s career, he still put up excellent numbers.

  • Hossa appeared in 534 regular season games for the Blackhawks.
  • His 415 points rank 26th in franchise history.
  • His 186 goals rank 22nd in franchise history.
  • He was +133 with Chicago, which ranks ninth in franchise history.
  • His 29 game-winning goals are tied (with Troy Murray) for 15th in franchise history.
  • His 18 short-handed goals rank fifth in franchise history.

He was a postseason monster, too.

  • Hossa appeared in 107 postseason games with Chicago – tied for 13th in team history with Steve Larmer.
  • His 73 postseason points ranks 11th in franchise history.
  • His 21 postseason goals ranks 14th in franchise history.
  • His 52 postseason assists are tied for 9th in franchise history – with Hall of Famer Pierre Pilote.
  • He was +21 in the postseason, which is tied for fifth in franchise history (with B. Hull, Bickell).
  • His 6 postseason game-winning goals are tied (with Larmer and Savard) for sixth in franchise history

Hossa was a warrior, who played through a lot of pain during his time in Chicago. He was a beast on the puck until his final game, reminding fans that power forwards aren’t only guys who try to put someone into the third row of seats.

Hossa was the best all-around winger to wear the Indian head since Steve Larmer, high praise if you’ve been here much in the eight years we’ve been publishing on this site. He was as fierce in the defensive areas of the ice as he was around the net offensively, always leaving it all on the ice.

Hossa represented the Blackhawks in two Winter Olympic Games (2010, 2014) with Slovakia and in one NHL All-Star Game (2012).

As David Haugh wrote for the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday, no free agent signing in Chicago sports history – in any sport – has matched the impact of Hossa on the Hawks.

He started his career in Ottawa and spent almost three full years in Atlanta before the stops in Pittsburgh and Detroit. But for most, Marian Hossa will be remembered as Chicago Blackhawks three-time Stanley Cup champion.

If this is indeed the end, it was an incredible ride. On behalf of the fans, Thank You.

22 thoughts on “Thank You, Marian Hossa

  • June 21, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Nice article about a great person.

  • June 21, 2017 at 10:18 am

    I remember a shift last year where he was flying around the offensive zone for ages and when the puck finally left the zone he still managed to track down and steal the puck from a much younger player on the back check. Just one of dozens of great memories of his heart on the ice.

    Great writeup TAB!

  • June 21, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Just beyond saddened. He was by far, my favorite player. For years, I lingered onto my favorites from the past–being Doug Wilson and Steve Larmer. Hossa went beyond my expectations and his work ethic–like Larmer–was unsurpassed. He clearly was the dominant player on the ice and made his presence known to all who played. He outplayed the youngsters–similar to the way Jagr and Selanne does/did. He played with grace and honor to the sport and should always be remembered as such. I hope that nobody ever wears #81 for The Chicago Blackhawks bc he should be honored as what he is–one of the very best to ever play this game.

  • June 21, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I used to comment regularly, but children and other time commitments have gotten in the way.

    I have to say the news last night/early today is shocking and also sad. Marian Hossa was a warrior who so badly wanted to win. His strength on the puck and tenacious backcheck are what I admire most about his game. Both of these skills, and they are skills, are some of the hardest to consistently display in hockey. To see him keep puck control through multiple defenders seemingly running the cycle by himself was amazing.

    I remember the day Hossa signed. I was surprised, but also very excited. Excited that a player of his caliber saw enough in the young Hawks (just losing to the Red Wings in the 2008-09 WCF) to come on board. Excited that Hossa may help lead the team to the promised land, not necessarily through vocal leadership. But more so by his work ethic and playing style…a style that valued hard work every shift. A playing style that did not see him publicly complain when playing on the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd line.

    I will miss 81. May he find good health and my best to him as he (potentially) moves to the next phase of his life.

  • June 21, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Great write up. Loved watching him. Sad to see him go.

  • June 21, 2017 at 10:41 am

    Class act. Best wishes.

  • June 21, 2017 at 10:44 am

    My sentiments exactly. Very nicely stated. He never complained–just worked and yes, his puck control was absolutely unsurpassed.

  • June 21, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Well said Tab. Really well done. One of the greatest to ever put on a Hawks sweater. I will never forget my jubilation the day when they signed Hoss. One of those sports OMG moments. I simply loved watching that guy play hockey.

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  • June 21, 2017 at 11:22 am

    A great article about a great player who certainly was key to making the Blackhawks a winning team. He will be sorely missed this season – for the example he set both on and off the ice. Best wishes for a complete recovery and return to the United Center.

  • June 21, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Favorite Hossa moment….Aside from him finally getting the cup.

    Probably him catching a puck, dropping it, hitting it out of the air and into the back of the net before it hit the ice.

    I really hope game 4 wasn’t his last game. One of the few who actually tried that series.

  • June 21, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    You never know when you will put on that sweater / jersey for the last time.

  • June 21, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    I do not for one minute question the integrity of Marian Hossa.

  • June 21, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    This is truly sad news I can’t begin to tell you how much respect I have Hoss. I wish he could have a training camp for new players and teach them how to respect the game they are so blessed to play for pay. I hope he might be able to get this problem solved and come back next season. If he can’t all I can say is thank you for all the great memories and the respect you showed us as fans we will really miss you!!

  • June 21, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    My favorite Hawk. So, so sad. But if it’s the end for him, he’s got a beautiful wife, a kid, millions of dollars, and three cups. The situation could be much worse, but man it stings.

  • June 21, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    And yeah, anybody doubting the integrity of this consummate hockey pro and Chicago’s medical professionals can ball up their tin foil hats and shove them up their ass.

  • June 21, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Nice write-up. Hossa was a stud. But aren’t you being sarcastic calling Bobby Orr a “Blackhawks Legend?” Orr is still probably the greatest D-man who ever played the game but he was totally washed-up when he played for the Hawks.

  • June 21, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    One of the all time great two way forwards to play in the NHL. Hawks won 3 Cups in direct correlation to the massive importance of Hossa.

  • June 21, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    How’s is already missed but he will never be forgotten best wishing for you and your family

  • June 21, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Well stated, Tab.
    An all time great Blackhawk.
    His two-way play and work ethic will be greatly missed.
    And thanks for the OT goal video and the Cup moment.
    Hoping for a full recovery for Hoss.

  • June 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    One of the greatest two way players in NHL history. A great mentor obviously to plenty of guys wearing the Indian Head. I added a Marian Hossa jersey to my collection today, a Reebok Edge like he has worn with the Blackhawks. I will miss Marian Hossa as an active player for the Blackhawks immensely.

  • May 19, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    Hoss the boss!!

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