When the Chicago Blackhawks signed Marian Hossa to a 12-year contract, fans were expecting to get a player with three 40+ goal seasons to his name; a guy that could single handedly take a game over and manufacture a victory for his team; a guy that dominated on every team he played on.
However, two years into his contract, a lot of Hawks fans, including myself, were beginning to worry that instead of getting the dominant player we all expected to get, we got a player whose best years were behind him; who would spend more time on LTIR than on the ice and would probably never come close to 30 goals again.
How wrong the detractors were.
Hossa has always been among my favorite players. He’s been one of the most dynamic offensive players in the league for many years and has always been a highly underated two-way forward. Like many fans I was ecstatic when he signed with the Hawks.
Hossa wasn’t bad in his first two years in Chicago, he just wasn’t quite living up to expectations. He was continually derailed by injuries, playing only 122 of a possible 164 games, which limited his ability to really get his game up to 100%. As a result, he was limited to only 49 goals and 108 points in two seasons.
Throughout his first two years with the Hawks there always seemed to be another level to Hossa’s game that for whatever reason he was unable to reach. Rarely did we see the dominant scorer we saw when he was in Ottawa, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Detroit. It was this that caused a lot of speculation among Hawks fans that maybe Hossa was past his prime.
However, after three consecutive trips to the Stanley Cup finals with three different teams and a couple of rough seasons, injury plagued seasons with the Hawks, it was widely believed that a long offseason of rest was exactly what Hossa needed to get back to the form we all expected to see when he was signed.
Well it appears that a long offseason was exactly what the doctor ordered for Hossa. He’s finally paying the dividends we were all expecting to be paid when he signed with the Hawks.
Hossa is currently 4th on the team with 29 points in 28 games. He’s on track for 34 goals and 84 points. Not only is that the most since he became a Hawk, but its the most points he’s had since the 2006-07 season when he scored 100 points with the Atlanta Thrashers. He’s also tied for the team league in powerplay goals with 4.
Not only is Hossa finding the scoresheet, but he’s been a force on defense as well. He leads the Hawks with a plus-13 and is 6th in the league in takeaways with 32. He also already has 2 shorthanded goals.
Hossa has been a force on a nightly basis and has played a huge part in the Hawks position in the standings. On some nights, like Thursday against the Islanders, he’s helped carry the Hawks to a victory. It seems the Hawks are finally getting the Hossa they bargained for, the Hossa that could take games over.
Hossa was rewarded with his 400th career goal the other night against the Islanders. It should serve as a reminder to Hawks fans of just how good Marian Hossa is and how lucky they are to have such a tremendous player on their team. It is truly a pleasure watching a player like Hossa play the game we all love.
Come back tomorrow for some more Hawk Thoughts.
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