Hossa Missing Piece in Hawks Legacy

Published May 5, 2022 at 11:13

From being an offensive dynamo early on, to being a dominant two-way forward later in his career, Marian Hossa was deserving of being a Hall of Famer and having his #81 retired in Chicago. It's a shame he had to retire early due to a progressive skin disorder.

The Slovak played 19 seasons of hockey, spanning 1998-2017, including 5 different teams; Ottawa, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Chicago. To put that into perspective, Hossa played in Wayne Gretzky's last season, and played in Auston Matthews' first.

On July 1, 2009, the Blackhawks signed Hossa to a 12-year contract worth $62.8 million, arguably the greatest free agent signing in Chicago sports history. In eight seasons with the Blackhawks, Hossa scored 415 points in 534 regular-season games. Despite often being overshadowed by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith, much of Chicago's success was thanks to Hossa during these years, who provided the club with leadership, a two-way presence and even some grit.

Rarely have we seen a winger in the NHL have the two-way impact that Hossa did. Though unfortunately he was never recognized for that part of his game. The closest he ever came in the Selke voting (best defensive forward) was 5th in 2013-14. The most important thing though was that Hossa helped make a good team, a great team, and since he's been gone, the Blackhawks have missed the playoffs in four of the last five years.

Hossa had 149 points (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 Stanley Cup Playoff games, playing in the Stanley Cup Final five times including with the Penguins in 2008 and Red Wings in 2009. He is the only player to skate in the Final in three straight seasons with three teams. His 26 goals during the 2016-17 campaign with the Hawks, his last season in the NHL, was one of 15 20-goal seasons during his 19-year Hall of Fame career.

"Hoss was one of those guys who chose to play a certain way and was such an impactful player, and I think that's huge that he could have an impact on the shift, whether he had the puck or not," said Hawks color analyst Eddie Olczyk. "There's no doubt in my mind that his numbers, with the skill and speed he had, if he was wired a different way, he could've easily averaged another 20 points a year. You start looking at that and add another 300 points to his career, you sit there and say he's on the Mount Rushmore of all-around forwards who have ever played the game."

There are plenty of moments which stand out for Hoss in Chicago, but it all goes back to his overtime winner in Game 5 of the 2010 first round against Nashville. The Hawks blew a 3-1 lead and needed a miracle to avoid heading to Music City down 3-2. Hossa was called for boarding, a five minute major, with 63 seconds left in regulation. Kane found a rebound and put it past Pekka Rinne with 13 seconds left to tie it at 4. Chicago killed the final 3:57 of Hossa's penalty and he skated out of the box and straight to the front of the net.

Before I talk about the goal, can we all agree how hilarious it was that Doc Emrick yelled «KANE!!!» after Hossa scored. One of the biggest goals ever and Doc calls the wrong player's name. For me, it just adds to how special the moment was. Hossa, after being the goat who took the dumb penalty at the end of regulation, leaves the box and goes straight to the net and taps home the game winner to become the hero of the series. It's not crazy to say that without Hossa's OT winner the Blackhawks possibly don't win the Stanley Cup in 2010 and we don't get to see that magical moment when Hoss finally raised Lord Stanley. The rest as they say is history. For now, we can enjoy having him be a part of the organization.

May 5   |   333 answers
Hossa Missing Piece in Hawks Legacy

Who was more important to the Cup runs?

Kane11935.7 %
Toews7221.6 %
Hossa14242.6 %
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