Blackhawks

Marian Hossa opens up about his health and potentially returning to Blackhawks organization

Marian Hossa opens up about his health and potentially returning to Blackhawks organization

PRAGUE — Marian Hossa shocked the NHL world before the 2017-18 season when he announced that he would no longer play hockey because of a progressive skin disorder that stemmed from an allergic reaction from his equipment.

And while hanging up the skates was tough, Hossa doesn't have any regrets about it. The side effects from the medications weren’t worth it, and he tried everything before making the call to stop playing.

“Definitely it wasn’t an easy decision because I still felt like I had a lot in the tank to give,” Hossa said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Chicago. “That's why it was kind of difficult. But health is first. I have two young daughters and I just have to look in the future. It was tough to play with the pills every day, putting [them] into the body. I had to stop this, I had to make a big decision and the decision was I cannot play under these conditions.”

More than two years later, the 40-year-old Hossa still looks like somebody who can play hockey at a high level. But it’s not worth risking again with his body in a much healthier place.

“I feel way better,” Hossa said. “I didn’t put equipment on for two years, I didn’t skate for basically two years. Feeling good, skin is healed and enjoying time with the family.”

There are some things Hossa doesn’t miss about playing hockey. The plane rides, the meetings, the way his body would react after games.

But there are some things he certainly does miss.

Hossa made the drive from Slovakia to Prague on Thursday to catch up with his former Blackhawks teammates, staff and front office members, most of whom he won multiple Stanley Cups with and hasn’t seen in years. He also will be in attendance for Friday's season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers at O2 Arena.

"That's the one thing, being around the guys, around the dressing room," Hossa admitted. "Missing all this. This game of hockey gave me a lot, gave me lots of great people to work with. I have lots of people when I come back [that are] happy to see me. I'm happy to see them, and that's what is great about this game."

Hossa said he still keeps tabs on what the Blackhawks are doing. He wakes up every morning and checks the box score from the night before and scrolls through his phone to see who scored, who had the most ice time, etc. That’s the kind of emotional attachment he still has for the Blackhawks.

When he signed a 12-year contract in 2009, Hossa was hungry to just win one Stanley Cup after falling short the previous two seasons. He ended up with three and, and this year is the 10-year anniversary of his very first one.

"My goal was to come to the good young team to get a good chance to win a Stanley Cup," Hossa said. "Nobody was expecting it to be right away the first year and thank God that happened. Two years later and two years later, we won another one and another one. We are blessed, we are lucky. We had a great group, great leadership and great coaching staff, so definitely a perfect scenario."

Hossa has not officially filed his retirement papers. His contract was traded to the Arizona Coyotes last summer and it runs through the 2020-21 campaign. After it expires, Hossa will have options on what he may want to do next.

Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough recently said on our Blackhawks Talk Podcast that the organization would love to have Hossa back in Chicago in some capacity. In fact, the offer may already be unofficially on the table. And the feeling is mutual.

"I would love to, so we’ll see what happen after my contract is done," Hossa said. "But definitely there’s lots of love for me for Chicago and great people I got a chance to work with. So definitely that would be something I would look forward to and we're gonna have a good talk and we’ll see what’s gonna happen."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Are the Blackhawks a playoff team?

robin_lehner_2_usa_today.jpg
USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Are the Blackhawks a playoff team?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Adam Burish and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the loss to the Hurricanes, possible changes to the power play, and how Charlie may be partially responsible for Erik Gustafsson's goal scoring streak.

01:30 Looking at the loss to the Hurricanes

05:00 On coming to Kane's defense after hard hit late in the game

06:30 Lehner's assessment of the team

08:30 Are the Blackhawks a playoff team?

11:00 Should there be changes to the Blackhawks power play

13:30 Gustafsson and other defensemen generating offense

19:00 Is great goaltending masking some of the team's offensive problems

22:00 Adam's favorite moments from his honeymoon's travels

24:30 Charlie's gambling adventures in Las Vegas

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

 

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

Subscribe:

BLACKHAWKS: Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

Four takeaways: Blackhawks make late push but fall to Hurricanes

blackhawks_usa_today.jpg
USA Today

Four takeaways: Blackhawks make late push but fall to Hurricanes

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center on Tuesday:

1. Winning streak comes to a halt

The Blackhawks had picked up at least a point in eight of their past nine games and had the second-most points out of any team in November going into Tuesday's matchup. But they laid an egg against the Hurricanes, at least for the first 40 minutes.

The Hurricanes dominated the Blackhawks in every offensive category through two periods, including shot attempts (48-33), shots on goal (27-12), even-strength scoring chances (24-13) and even-strength high-danger chances (9-3), according to Natural Stat Trick. They also scored the first three goals of the game.

The Blackhawks made a big push in the third period by outshooting the Hurricanes 20-6 and scoring two goals in a span of 1:10, but they couldn't get that third one.

"Two bad periods, one good one," Lehner said. "We've been playing pretty good. Just gotta go win the next one. Don't lose two in a row. We're fine. We're fine. Everyone's just got to be a little bit better. I let in a bad goal and bad timing on the second one. Got a little bit unlucky. We've just got to try to get that push and we had a push. Unfortunately we couldn't tie it up."

2. A slow start

After scoring the first two goals in five of the past six games, the Blackhawks got off to a slow start and dug themselves too big of a hole to overcome. They registered only four shots on goal in the first period and allowed the Hurricanes to score three straight to open the game, with the second goal coming 53 seconds into the middle frame.

The first goal of the game came on a 2-on-0 in which Lehner had no chance of stopping. It could've been a much more lopsided first period on the scoresheet, with the Hurricanes generating 13 scoring chances to the Blackhawks' three.

"Obviously, disappointed in the first two periods, the result of the game of course, but we didn't have a good start and I thought we got worse in the second so that was disappointing," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I liked that we didn't quit, that was a positive, and I liked that we showed some fight in the third and we got going and put a scare into them.

"But it's frustrating because we showed that was a winnable game if we played, if we turned on a little bit earlier. We've had a good stretch and that was a setback and now we've got to respond on Thursday."

3. Too little, too late

Since the calendar flipped to November, no team had scored more goals than the Blackhawks (36) going into Tuesday. They had 21 goals in their previous four contests for an average of 5.25 goals per game.

It didn't look like the Blackhawks had much hope until the third period when they peppered the Hurricanes with 32 shot attempts, 19 scoring chances and 13 high-danger chances. Erik Gustafsson and Connor Murphy scored within a span of 1:10 to pull the Blackhawks within one, but it was too little, too late for the offense.

"We were just hungry," Murphy said of the third period. "We were embarrassed at home to give up the chances that we did and to get outplayed for a lot of it just as far as the races and seemed like a lot of those battles. We knew at home we wanted this year to be a prideful team and we have guys that want to push to make sure that we can come back. We know the power that we have, we can score three goals and we almost did."

4. Rough night for DeBrincat-Strome-Kane line

The Blackhawks' second line of Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome has been lights out since being reunited on Nov. 2 against Anaheim. But it had a tough night together vs. Carolina. 

When the three of them were on the ice at even strength, the Blackhawks had three shot attempts for and 14 against, two shots on goal for and nine against, three scoring chances for and six against and one high-danger chance for and two against in 8:45 of ice time. 

They were separated in the third period with Kirby Dach taking Strome's place on the second line, and the line changes sparked the entire team. Kane recorded two primary assists in the third period to extend his season-long point streak to 10 games, marking his sixth career NHL point streak of at least 10 games. Only Denis Savard has more (13) in a Blackhawks sweater.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.