LAS VEGAS – When Marian Hossa addressed the media on April 22, two days after the Blackhawks’ postseason was abruptly finished thanks to the Nashville Predators’ four-game sweep of them, he looked the picture of health. As disappointed as he was at the outcome, he smiled as he left the United Center, shaking hands with several members of the media.
But in a Sportsnet report from Elliotte Friedman, Hossa’s health is very much an issue, and it may mean the end of his career. Sources told Friedman that the medication Hossa needs to combat "a serious allergic reaction to the equipment he wears" could require the forward to get his blood tested every few weeks to make sure there were no side effects.
A message left with the Blackhawks had not been returned at the time of this writing.
Hossa has four years remaining on his current contract with a cap hit of $5.275 million per season. Hossa’s salary, however, will be $1 million each of the last four seasons. If Hossa was forced to retire, the Blackhawks would face salary recapture penalties of more than $3.5 million over the next four seasons. If Hossa were to be placed on long-term injured reserve, the Blackhawks would not be responsible for Hossa’s cap it.
Hossa has played in more than 1,300 regular-season games and passed the 500-goal mark with the Blackhawks this past season. He’s been to five Stanley Cup finals, winning three Cups with the Blackhawks.
When asked in April about playing in the World Championships, Hossa said he talked with the Slovakian team’s representatives and said, “at this stage, I’ve been in eight world championships, four Olympics, World Cups, so let the young guys play. Right now, I need to rest some things in my body, but it’s better to allow the young players to play. I’m 38 years old, so it’s time for the young guys to step up.”
But, asked if he was calling it quits, Hossa said, “I’m not calling anything,” to laughs.
If this is it, it would be a sad ending to an otherwise tremendous career.