NHL

Hossa was interested in a more active role with the Chicago Blackhawks

Hossa was interested in a more active role with the Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Marian Hossa isn’t exactly sure how he’ll feel when the Chicago Blackhawks retire his number 81 jersey.

The Hockey Hall of Famer is sure to one day see a few more numbers from his championship teams in Chicago climb the rafters at the United Center.

“There are so many names [that] I deserve to be up there,” Hossa said Wednesday night. “It’s not up to me, but I know I’ll be back for some others in the future.”

Hossa, 43, gets his moment ahead of Sunday night’s game against Pittsburgh, another of his five teams in his 19 NHL seasons. He becomes the eighth player to have his number retired by Chicago, joining an impressive list that also includes Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull, Denis Savard and Tony Esposito.

During his eight years in Chicago, Hossa scored 186 of his 525 career goals and collected 229 of his 609 assists while playing a 200-foot game that helped develop the team’s young stars, sparking a remarkable hitting streak for the franchise.

“Everyone talks about his two-way game, but he also scored 500 goals,” the Blackhawks forward said. Patrick Kane said “So he’s a pretty impressive offensive player, but he brought a lot to our team.”

Hossa stepped away from the game after the 2016-17 season due to a progressive skin disorder. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame a year ago.

Free from the games and practices that irritated his skin, Hossa is doing well these days. And he hopes to take a more active role with the Blackhawks.

“I definitely enjoy being a small part with the Blackhawks organization,” said Hossa, who also has a new book out about his hockey career. “I know it’s been a long time, but I’m trying to make sure I make the right decision about what part I’m going to play.”

Hossa played for Pittsburgh when they lost to Detroit in the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. He then played for the Red Wings when they lost to the Penguins in the 2009 Stanley Cup Championship.

In 2010, it finally worked for the rugged winger.

After signing a 12-year, $63.3 million contract with Chicago in free agency, Hossa helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1961. With Hossa’s two-way play and the rise of a strong group of young players that included Kane and Jonathan ToewsChicago won the championship again in 2013 and 2015.

Hossa’s commitment to defense left a lasting impression on Kane.

“Teams would be transitioning the other way and he’d come from behind and pick the guy off, and all of a sudden you’ve got a freak run or a 2-on-1 break on the other side,” Kane said . “But you definitely see the effect it has on the team and the game, and you try to do that as well. And it brings you into the game when you do something like that.”

Hossa was best known for his offensive prowess when he broke into the NHL with Ottawa in 1997. But he learned a lot about playing a more complete game during his one season with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk in Detroit.

“The break came when I joined Detroit Red Wingsand he gave me a lot that year, even when we lost,” he said. “I learned from the best how to play the right way, and I think when I got to Chicago I saw so much talent that I knew I couldn’t “I have to worry so much about scoring goals.”



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