It's official: Blackhawks' Marian Hossa elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

It's official: Blackhawks' Marian Hossa elected to Hockey Hall of Fame

It's official: Marian Hossa is heading to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In his first year of eligibility, Hossa was announced on Wednesday as one of six members from the Class of 2020, along with Jarome Iginla, Kevin Lowe, Kim St-Pierre, Doug Wilson and Ken Holland (builder). He needed more than 75 percent of the votes — at least 14 from the 18-member selection committee — to be elected.

"This is an amazing day for me and my family," Hossa said in a conference call. "I would like to congratulate all the six people with me. It's an amazing day for everybody. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to start playing in the 1997-98 National Hockey League and I never thought I would have an amazing career.

"My dream came true when I won the first Stanley Cup. This is definitely something special to be in the top, top players and the people in [the] National Hockey League. This means so much to me. I'm humbled and really grateful."

Drafted No. 12 overall by the Ottawa Senators in 1997, Hossa registered 1,134 points in 1,309 games across 19 seasons with five different teams and won three Stanley Cups as a member of the Blackhawks. He ranks 35th all-time in goals (525), 30th in postseason points (149) and was the 80th player in NHL history to hit the 1,000-point mark. 

Despite his career being cut prematurely because of a progressive skin disorder, Hossa finished as an eight-time 30-goal scorer and three-time 40-goal scorer and was widely regarded as one of the best two-way forwards in hockey. Chicago was fortunate to witness it first-hand for eight years.

"One of those players that really set the table of playing the right way," Joel Quenneville told NBC Sports Chicago in January. "And as a coach, you couldn't ask for a guy that demonstrates exactly what your message is on how we want to play structurally, in all zones, all situations. Protects the puck, keeps the puck, tough to take it away from him. It was like, 'OK, this is the perfect player.'"

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Hossa's international numbers also puts him in the conversation as one of the greatest Slovakian players ever. He racked up 15 points (nine goals, six assists) in 12 games at the IIHF World Junior Championship, 41 points (16 goals, 25 assists) in 52 games at the IIHF World Championship and 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 19 games at the Winter Olympics. 

Not only is he a Hall of Fame player on the ice, but off the ice as well. Hossa is as universally respected within the hockey community as anyone, and the epitome of what it means to be a professional.

"You can't replace Marian Hossa," GM Stan Bowman said in October. "He was such an important part of our team. We never would've won any of our Stanley Cups without Marian's contributions. He did all the things that you need a player to do to win. I'm not sure there was ever the full appreciation of what he did on a nightly basis to help our team win."

There is now. Hossa is in the Hall and he couldn't be more deserving of the honor.

Blackhawks turn back the clock, channel late-game heroics in Game 3 win over Oilers

Blackhawks turn back the clock, channel late-game heroics in Game 3 win over Oilers

When the Blackhawks were winning Stanley Cups during the dynasty era, one of their best attributes was their ability to come through in clutch situations even when they weren’t at their best.

The Blackhawks desperately needed a moment like that in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Edmonton Oilers. And they delivered.

After trailing 3-2 going into the third period, the Blackhawks scored two goals in a span of 4:31 in the final six minutes of regulation thanks to a pair of redirections by Matthew Highmore and Jonathan Toews, who scored his second goal of the game and recorded his 11th game-winning postseason goal to tie Bobby Hull, Patrick Kane and Stan Mikita for most in franchise history.

It felt like old times again.

"We stuck with it," Toews said following a 4-3 win on Wednesday night. "It was a great team effort, some great contributions from all over our lineup."

As the “home” team in Game 3, the Blackhawks took over the Oilers’ dressing room and made themselves feel, well, at home. They hit the ice in their red sweaters, which was strange to see outside the United Center and brought back memories of the old days.

But nothing made the Blackhawks feel more at home than when a recorded rendition of the National Anthem and O Canada sung by Jim Cornelison blared over the speakers prior to puck drop. And while there were no fans in attendance to blow the roof off Rogers Place, the Blackhawks certainly felt comfort knowing a part of Chicago was with them in Edmonton.

"We noticed those little details," Toews said. 

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There were lots of ups and downs in Game 3, and it would’ve been easy for the Blackhawks to let their frustrations get the best of them. 

They hit five posts. They went 1-for-6 on the power play, with their only goal coming during a 5-on-3 advantage. They gave up 10 high-danger chances at 5-on-5 through the first two periods and generated just one of their own. Leon Draisaitl (twice) and Connor McDavid made them pay three times, scoring their goals from an average distance of eight feet.

But the Blackhawks dug in, turned back the clock, channeled some late-game heroics against an Oilers team that lost just once in regulation (29-1-2) during the regular season when leading after two periods and have a chance to close out a postseason series on Friday for the first time since the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

"Hard-fought game from us," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "We showed a lot of character to stick with it. We were pretty solid defensively, did a good job eliminating their transition, and we found a way to score some dirty goals. Proud of how the guys worked. We'll enjoy it for tonight, then on to the next one."

Blackhawks overcome special teams woes to complete comeback in Game 3 vs. Oilers

Blackhawks overcome special teams woes to complete comeback in Game 3 vs. Oilers

The Blackhawks won 4-3 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Edmonton Oilers in the best-of-five series late Thursday night.

Here are four takeaways:

Late come-from-behind W

Trailing 2-3 in the third period, the Blackhawks scored two goals in 4:31 to complete the comeback.

Matthew Highmore got his first career postseason goal when he deflected a Slater Koekkoek one-timer past Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen at 14:13.

With just 1:16 remaining in regulation, defenseman Connor Murphy fired a wrister toward the net that Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews deflected in. On the goal, Toews tied Stan Mikita, Bobby Hull and Patrick Kane for most game-winning playoff goals in Blackhawks history (11). 

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UNspecial teams

There were A LOT of penalties in Wednesday's game, nine to be exact, with five in the first period alone. The Oilers had six infractions and the Hawks three.

Chicago went just 1-for-6 on the man advantage.

The Hawks had a 5-on-3 power play late in the first period and Toews scored with 4.2 seconds remaining in the opening frame to give Chicago a 2-1 lead.

Outside of Toews' first goal of the game, the power play was a bit of a disaster. After converting on three of six power plays in Game 1, the Hawks went 0-for-4 in Game 2. With some elite scorers on the Oilers looking to avoid elimination on home ice in Game 4, it's an area the Blackhawks need to improve in quickly. It'll also be needed down the road if they advance.

The Blackhawks went 1-for-3 on the penalty kill, but allowed an Oilers' power-play goal that was costly at the time.

The Hawks failed to kill an Alex DeBrincat penalty late in the second period when Connor McDavid scored with 7.8 seconds remaining in the frame to put Edmonton up 3-2. It was McDavid's fifth goal of the series. He's scored a power-play goal in each qualifying-round game.

What's a Maatta you?

Blackhawks defenseman Olli Maatta scored at 9:14 of the first period to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. The play has Maatta riding a two-game goal streak and it was the first time in the series the Blackhawks scored the first goal of the game.

Maatta got beat, committing to cover Leon Draisaitl for the Oilers' late second-period power-play goal, allowing McDavid to convert. Maatta closed the game with one goal, one assist and a +/- rating of 0.

Leon, the Professional

Draisaitl haunted the Hawks prior to their comeback with two goals and assist in Game 3 after he was held shotless in Game 2.

The NHL's leader in points (110) during the regular season tied the game 1-1 28 seconds after Maatta scored in the first period and made it 2-2 at 4:07 of the second period. 

Draisaitl had a power-play goal and two assists in Game 1.