Blackhawks' Marian Hossa to miss 2017-18 season because of skin disorder

Blackhawks' Marian Hossa to miss 2017-18 season because of skin disorder

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa will miss the entire upcoming NHL season because of severe side effects from medication to treat a progressive skin condition he's been dealing with for years.

The team announced the medical update Wednesday, one that could have a significant impact on the veteran's career and the franchise's future. The 38-year-old Hossa has four years left on his contract and says "playing hockey is not possible" for him next season.

"While I am disappointed that I will not be able to play, I have to consider the severity of my condition and how the treatments have impacted my life both on and off the ice," Hossa said in a statement released by the Blackhawks, adding he's been privately undergoing treatment for the last few years under the supervision of Chicago's medical staff.

Dr. Michael Terry said the team supports Hossa's decision not to play and that the skin disorder is "becoming more and more difficult to treat and control with conventional medications while he plays hockey."

"We feel in the most certain terms this is the appropriate approach for Marian in order to keep him functional and healthy in the short term and throughout his life," Terry said.

General manager Stan Bowman calls Hossa's absence a significant loss. Hossa, a 19-year veteran, has only missed 46 games over the past six seasons. He had 26 goals and 19 assists last season and has been considered one of the best defensive forwards in the league throughout his career.

"His teammates and coaches know he battled through some very tough physical difficulties but never complained or missed games despite the challenges he faced," Bowman said.

Hossa has been part of three Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks teams during his eight seasons in Chicago.

He has a salary-cap hit of $5,275,000 for the next four seasons. The cap-strapped Blackhawks can put Hossa on long-term injured reserve to get some relief from a deal that was worth $63.3 million over 12 years.

Hossa has already been paid $59.3 million as part of a front-loaded contract. In real dollars he's set to make just $1 million in each of the next four seasons, and because of that, the Blackhawks will likely keep Hossa on LTIR rather than him retiring and costing the team cap-recapture penalties that were instituted for the last collective bargaining agreement.

With Hossa's cap hit off the books and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk and center Marcus Kruger linked to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, Chicago won't have as many roster problems as originally predicted in the first season of Artemi Panarin's $12 million, two-year deal.

But Hossa's on-ice contributions will be difficult to replace.

Hossa has 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,390 regular-season games with Ottawa, Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh and Chicago. He has 149 points in 205 playoff games and has appeared in the Cup Final five times.

Capitals reclaim sole possession of Metro lead

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Capitals reclaim sole possession of Metro lead

WASHINGTON — T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Matt Niskanen scored as the Washington Capitals swept a home-and-home set against the skidding New York Islanders with a 6-3 win on Friday night.

Alex Chiasson had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who hammered the Islanders 7-3 in New York on Thursday. Jakub Vrana's goal gave Washington a 5-1 lead with 9:04 remaining. Lars Eller added an empty-netter, and Braden Holtby made 22 saves.

Washington broke a tie with the idle Pittsburgh Penguins for sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division. The Capitals' four-game winning streak is their longest since taking five in a row from Dec. 28 to Jan. 9.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Washington's second-leading scorer, left in the second period and did not return after sustaining an upper-body injury, according to the team.

Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and John Tavares scored for the Islanders, who have lost 10 of 11 (see full recap).

Hoffman lifts Senators over Stars in OT
OTTAWA, Ontario — Mike Hoffman scored at 3:26 of overtime and the Ottawa Senators beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Friday night to win their third game in a row for just the second time this season.

Ottawa won on home ice for the first time since Feb. 17.

Marian Gaborik and Matt Duchene also scored for the Senators (26-33-11), and Craig Anderson made 23 saves.

Tyler Seguin and Tyler Pitlick had the goals for the Stars (38-26-8). Ben Bishop, who stopped 22 shots, made his first start since missing five games with a knee injury sustained March 5 against the Senators. Bishop has a 9-0-4 career record against Ottawa.

Dallas has lost four straight, its longest skid of the season (see full recap).

Predators rally past Coyotes
GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Nashville Predators keep rolling toward the best regular season in franchise history.

Kevin Fiala and Kyle Turris each had a goal and assist in the third period, leading Nashville to a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night. Ryan Ellis also scored to help the Western Conference-leading Predators get their 21st road win of the season and improve to 12-0-1 in their last 13 games overall. Pekka Rinne finished with 32 saves.

Nashville, which reached the Stanley Cup Final a year ago after earning the second wild card in the West, has 102 points through 70 games, and needs nine more in its final 12 games to set a new franchise record (see full recap).

Alex Lyon can save the Flyers' season

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Alex Lyon can save the Flyers' season

Lost amid the Flyers’ 5-3 defeat at the hands Blue Jackets on Thursday was yet another stellar relief appearance in goal from Alex Lyon.

Lyon was sensational after replacing Petr Mrazek between the pipes early in the second period, stopping all 18 shots that came his way. Flyers coach Dave Hakstol praised the rookie netminder for giving his team an opportunity to come from behind.

“He’s a battler, and that’s what we asked from him last night going into that situation,” Hakstol said following Friday’s practice.

“You need to have a mindset of going in there and absolutely slamming the door to give your team a chance to win. In order to do that, you have to have a real battling mentality, and I thought he had that right from when he stepped in the net.”

Success in a sort of stopper role has become increasingly commonplace for Lyon since joining the Flyers.

Lyon came off the bench to make five saves during the final eight minutes of a 5-3 loss to the Capitals in his January debut. The 25-year-old later earned his first NHL win against the Rangers in February, blocking 25 of 26 shots over the second and third periods to help procure a 7-4 victory.

His play has been on the rise ever since. Lyon appears to be improving with experience, posting a 2-1-0 record with a .939 save percentage in his last four games.

“I don’t know if I’d say confidence so much as comfortability,” Lyon said of his growth. “I think I always had the confidence in myself that I could do it. It’s just you have to get comfortable enough to kind of believe that.”

He shined as a substitute goaltender all along. Including his performance against the Blue Jackets, Lyon has amassed a .980 save percentage in three relief appearances — a number emblematic of his season.

Lyon began 2017-18 as the emergency-goalie-in-waiting at Lehigh Valley. He earned the call-up to the Flyers’ main roster after the injury to Brian Elliott, then saw an uptick in ice time due to Michal Neuvirth’s subsequent maladies.

The club traded for Petr Mrazek after Neuvirth went down, but Lyon still finds himself in the mix. He’s expected to start against the Hurricanes on Saturday — a pivotal contest for the Flyers’ bid to make the playoffs.

“It’s extremely exciting,” Lyon said. “This is what you think about when you’re a little kid.

“It’s not quite the same, but down in Allentown we were in a pretty hot playoff race last year and always at the top of the standings, so I’m going to draw on my past experiences.”

Elliott returned to the ice this week and could be back in uniform soon, at which time Lyon will be sent back to the minor leagues. But if the Flyers do manage to reach the postseason, his fill-in contributions will have played a big part.

Perhaps Lyon will even warrant a closer look for a full-time spot on the Flyers’ roster next season.