Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Bobby Hull, Denis Savard heap high praise on Marian Hossa

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Blackhawks: Bobby Hull, Denis Savard heap high praise on Marian Hossa

It's no secret what kind of impact Marian Hossa has had on the Blackhawks, who knew exactly what they were getting when they signed him to a 12-year contract in 2009.

You won't see many individual accolades on his resume, but you will see that he's appeared in five of the last eight Stanley Cup Finals, and has reached the Conference Final in six of the last eight seasons. 

He's a winner everywhere he goes.

Sitting at 494 career goals, Hossa is approaching another impressive milestone, seeking to become the 44th player in NHL history to join the 500-goal club and adding to his illustrious career.

One member of that club is Bobby Hull, who ranks 16th on the all-time scoring list with 610 goals. And if he had the opportunity to play alongside the Slovakian winger, the Blackhawks legend and current ambassador believes the goals would have come much easier.

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"There is no one that plays this game of hockey that works any harder than Marian Hossa," Hull told CSN's Chris Boden during a recent Blackhawks game. "And sometimes I get a little upset with him: 'Don't work so hard on your defensive game then when you get a chance offensively, you're tired out and you can't put the puck in the net.' But he is a fabulous addition to this hockey club. He can play with anyone. He'll make a hockey player.

"You asked me earlier if I would have liked to play with him, I could have kicked 50 in with Marian without a stick.

"If I was coaching this team, I would say, 'Keep your eye on Marian Hossa and play that same way, that same dedicated, up and down way.' I played a different style. I would have loved to play with him because he would have done all the work and I'd have finished it all off."

He may not always get the recognition he deserves, but you don't have to convince anyone in Chicago that Hossa is one of the best two-way players in the game, a great example on and off the ice, and a three-time Stanley Cup champion with a legitimate chance to add another ring or two before his career is all said and done.

Like Hull, Denis Savard, who had 473 career goals in the NHL, was also known as one of the best goal-scorers of his era and believes Hossa could be near the top of that list if he really wanted to.

"The biggest thing for him — and there's a few things obviously, a lot of things that he's done great for this team and this organization — but he's really taught some of our kids to play both ends of the rink, offense and defense," Savard told CSN. "I've never seen a guy come back in his own end as hard as he (does). And I see when we watch our team play, you see some of our young guys do that all the time now. I think they're watching the, I don't want to call him the old man because I think he's going to play quite a few more years, but he's towards the end of his career and he still has a lot of success.

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"Part of it too because you look at his numbers offensively, they're great numbers, he's going to have 500 goals here coming up soon. But I think it's suffered his game offensively the way he's played defensively, the way he comes back so hard in his own end and spends so much energy on defense.

"His numbers could be 650 goals, but he'd be the one to tell you, 'But I've got three Cups.' He's a great example for our organization and young players what it takes to win Cups."

Hossa is 37 years of age, but he still plays like he's 27.

Coach Joel Quenneville said during training camp that he's "never seen him skate as well as he's skating right now."

Savard retired at the age of 37 after his 17th season. Hossa is right there, currently in his 17th season, but Savard doesn't see him slowing down anytime soon.

"I still see the Marian Hossa that we saw two, three, four, five years ago playing the same way and I don't think that's going to go away," Savard said. "For me, the biggest thing that went away ... my hands were starting to be not as good. So when your hands get a little slow, your feet have to slow down. That's when I knew I was pretty much in trouble. ... Once I lost my speed, my days were pretty much down hill from there. I don't see that in (Hossa) yet."

Check out the full interview in the video above.

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

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AP

Getting to know four newly-signed Blackhawks

The Blackhawks announced Monday that they have officially agreed to terms with forward Dominik Kahun, defensemen Lucas Carlsson and Darren Raddysh and goaltender Kevin Lankinen on entry-level contracts.

Kahun ($925,000 cap hit), Lankinen ($925,000) and Raddysh ($730,000) each signed two-year deals that run through the 2019-20 season while Carlsson's is a three-year deal that runs through the 2020-21 campaign and carries a cap hit of $792,500.

So who are these guys? Let's meet them:

Carlsson

Drafted in the fourth round (No. 110 overall) by the Blackhawks in 2016, Carlsson set a career-high with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 44 games this season with Brynäs IF of the Swedish Hockey League. He was tied for fourth among all blue liners with seven goals.

Carlsson, 20, doesn't have major upside, but he's a reliable, well-rounded defenseman and that's what drew the attention of Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.

“When he’s on the ice, he makes things happen," Kelley told Scott Powers of The Athletic last summer. "I think what impressed the Sweden under-20 coach was Lucas’ ability to challenge in all three zones. He’s an active defensively. Offensively, he challenges. He keeps plays alive.”

Kahun

The 22-year-old forward spent the last four seasons with EHC München of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Germany's top professional hockey league, where he established career highs in assists (29), points (41) and tied a personal best with 12 goals, leading Munchen to their third straight championship in 2018 after recording four goals and 10 assists in 17 playoff contests.

He raised eyebrows at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where he compiled five points (two goals, three assists) in seven games and won 55.4 percent of his faceoffs (41 of 74), helping Germany capture a silver medal.

“He has made an enormous step this year, has become much more stable and mature," German national team coach Marco Sturm said after the Olympics. "I am sure that he would grab it in the NHL,” Sturm told the Hamburger Morgenpost.

Most recently, Kahun had a goal and two assists in seven games for Germany during the IIHF Men's World Championship. He's 5-foot-11, 176 pounds whose known to be a solid two-way player and can play center but may need some time to adjust to the smaller ice surface and NHL style of speed and physicality.

Lankinen 

Lankinen is 23 years old and coming off a season in which he was in the discussion for the Urpo Ylönen trophy, annually awarded to the top goaltender of the Finnish Elite League, after registering a league-best 1.33 goals against average and .946 save percentage in 15 games with HIFK.

He missed a large portion of the season because of an injury, but it didn't stop him from turning in a strong postseason, guiding his team to a bronze medal after posting a 1.99 GAA and .936 save percentage in 13 playoff games. The year before that, he led the league with seven shutouts in 42 games, backstopping his team to a silver medal.

This is a low-risk, medium-sized reward signing for the Blackhawks, who could use some more young goaltending depth in the pipeline, especially given how this season unfolded with the big club.

Raddysh

The Blackhawks signed Raddysh to a one-year AHL contract last June, and he turned it into an NHL one after a strong season with the Rockford IceHogs.

Raddysh, 22, accumulated 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 66 regular-season games with the IceHogs, and has appeared in each of the team's playoff games en route to the Western Conference Final.

Last season Raddysh was named the OHL's top defenseman after scoring 16 goals and 65 assists for 81 points in 62 games for the Erie Otters, where he was teammates with current Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. He's the Otters' all-time leader in assists (143) and points (184) among defensemen.

Raddysh might be nothing more than a depth defenseman, but his development is worth monitoring because the offensive production is there and that's something the Blackhawks lacked this past season from their back end.

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

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AP

Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa: 'I will not play hockey anymore'

Days after putting his Gold Coast condo on the market, Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa revealed to a Slovakian newspaper that he is moving back to his hometown country and doesn't plan on returning to the NHL.

"I will not play hockey anymore," said Hossa, who missed the entire 2017-18 campaign due to a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat it. "I have a valid contract with Chicago for the next three years, but I have only one health and it does not allow me to return."

Because he has three years left on a deal that carries a $5.275 million cap hit, Hossa is not expected to sign his retirement papers until the contract is completed or else it would result in salary cap consequences.

The news is not surprising, but it officially allows the Blackhawks to move on without him in the fold roster-wise and toy around with some options this summer.

The first is stashing his contract on long-term injured reserve, as they did last season when they utilized the in-season preference.

The second, which Hossa wondered could happen, is finding a trade partner that would absorb the remainder of his contract, usually done by lower payroll teams aiming to reach the cap floor.

And it wouldn't be difficult trying to find a buyer, considering Hossa's actual salary is $1 million per year over the next three seasons. Hossa, of course, has a no movement clause but it's likely he would waive it given his status at this point.

The good news for Chicago is, the three-time Stanley Cup winner didn't rule out joining the Blackhawks organization in some capacity after his contract expires in 2020-21, whether it's in a front office role or as a team ambassador.

In 19 NHL seasons, Hossa accumulated 525 goals and 609 assists for 1,134 points in 1,309 regular-season games, and added 149 points (52 goals, 97 assists) in 205 postseason contests. He's one of 45 players in league history to net at least 500 goals in his career.