Blackhawks

'Progressive skin disorder' will force Blackhawks' Marian Hossa to miss 2017-18 season

'Progressive skin disorder' will force Blackhawks' Marian Hossa to miss 2017-18 season

LAS VEGAS – Marian Hossa has been the consummate pro throughout his career, a tremendous player who has helped the Blackhawks win three Stanley Cups since 2010. Now, the side effects of a medication used to treat a skin disorder will cost Hossa the 2017-18 season.

Hossa released a statement through the Blackhawks early Wednesday morning, stating that he will not be able to play hockey this season due to side effects he’s experienced in fighting a “progressive skin disorder.” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report late Tuesday night that Hossa could be sidelined due to this.

Here is Hossa’s full statement:

“Over the course of the last few years, under the supervision of the Blackhawks medical staff, I have been privately undergoing treatment for a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat the disorder. Due to the severe side effects associated with those medications, playing hockey is not possible for me during the upcoming 2017-18 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.

The Chicago Blackhawks organization, including Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and Stan Bowman, and my agent, Ritch Winter, have been very supportive throughout this entire process. I would also like to thank my teammates and the amazing Blackhawks fans for their understanding. With respect to the privacy of my family, I will not be commenting any further on my health.”

Dr. Michael Terry issued the following statement regarding Hossa.

“Marian has been dealing with the effects of a progressive skin disorder that is becoming more and more difficult to treat and control with conventional medications while he plays hockey. Because of the dramatic nature of the medications required and their decreasing effectiveness, we strongly support his decision not to play during the 2017-18 season. 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.”

Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville will address the media in Chicago on Thursday but Bowman also released a statement early Wednesday morning.

“The Chicago Blackhawks are in full support of Marian Hossa as he addresses his medical issues. This is extremely difficult for us because we all know the incredible person and player that Marian Hossa is — competitive, loyal and humble. He has played a major role in the success our franchise has experienced in recent years, which makes his departure from our lineup a significant loss. His teammates and coaches know he battled through some very tough physical difficulties but never complained or missed games despite the challenges he faced. The organization will continue to provide him every resource he needs to maintain his health.”

Hossa has four years remaining on his current contract with a cap hit of $5.275 million. According to CapFriendly, since Hossa is missing the upcoming season but is not retired, he can be placed on long-term injured reserve the day before the 2017-18 season begins. So on the financial side, the Blackhawks will save that cap space this season.

[MORE: Blackhawks fans react to Marian Hossa news]

But considering what this news means to Hossa’s health and his career, the business side doesn’t mean too much right now. The Blackhawks may gain money but they lose a consummate professional, a tremendous two-way player who was coming off a rebound season.

When Hossa last addressed the Blackhawks media on April 22, he was asked about playing in the in the World Championships in May. 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.” Now, at least for the immediate future, Hossa’s health will take him out of hockey.

Blackhawks release team statement, stand by name and Native American logo

Blackhawks release team statement, stand by name and Native American logo

In light of the news that MLB's Cleveland Indians and the NFL's Washington Redskins are considering name changes, the Blackhawks released a team statement on Tuesday standing by their name and Native American logo.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

The full statement reads:

The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public.

We celebrate Black Hawk’s legacy by offering ongoing reverent examples of Native American culture, traditions and contributions, providing a platform for genuine dialogue with local and national Native American groups. As the team’s popularity grew over the past decade, so did that platform and our work with these important organizations.

We recognize there is a fine line between respect and disrespect, and we commend other teams for their willingness to engage in that conversation.

Moving forward, we are committed to raising the bar even higher to expand awareness of Black Hawk and the important contributions of all Native American people.

We will continue to serve as stewards of our name and identity, and will do so with a commitment to evolve. Our endeavors in this area have been sincere and multi-faceted, and the path forward will draw on that experience to grow as an organization and expand our efforts.

Why Blackhawks won't be at a disadvantage facing Oilers in Edmonton

Why Blackhawks won't be at a disadvantage facing Oilers in Edmonton

The NHL and NHL Players' Association took a significant step forward on Monday, announcing that the two sides have reached a tentative agreement on the Return to Play plan and Collective Bargaining Agreement extension that also includes transition rules. It's not official until the owners and players ratify the entire package, but there's little reason to believe it won't get approved.

If all goes as planned, the qualifying round will begin on Aug. 1 in the two hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto. Each conference will stay in their respective regions, which means the Blackhawks will be anchored down in Edmonton.

The NHL was originally planning to send the Western Conference teams to the Eastern Conference hub and the Eastern Conference teams to the Western Conference hub to avoid giving a Return to Play club any sort of competitive advantage, but the league and players decided against that due to the geographical complications.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

So will the Blackhawks be at a disadvantage in their five-game play-in series against the Oilers on the Oilers' home surface? The simple answer is, no.

For one, there will be no fans in attendance and that's half the battle in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blackhawks may be considered the road team as the No. 12 seed taking on the No. 5 seed, but the only thing that's going to be different throughout the series is their jersey color.

Where the home-ice advantage would really come into play is off the ice, but the Oilers won't exactly be in the comfort of their own environment.

All 12 teams are required to stay inside the bubble — which the NHL is calling its "Phase 4 Secure Zone" — and any individual that leaves without permission may be subject to consequences up to and including removal. The team could also be punished in the form of hefty fines and/or loss of draft picks. That should be enough for players to take things seriously, in case there's any temptation.

But the overall point is, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and the rest of the Oilers won't have the luxury of sleeping in their own bed or being in the comfort of their own home during off-days. They have to pack multiple suitcases and stay inside the designated boundaries that includes hotels, dining destinations, the arena, practice facilities and demarcated areas (indoor and outdoor), just like everyone else. That's how life would have been for the Blackhawks had Chicago been chosen as a hub city.

In some ways, this could actually play in the Blackhawks' favor. There aren't any expectations when you're the road team going into a game, let alone a series in this unique situation. The Blackhawks had nothing to lose to begin with, considering their playoff chances were all but over prior to the NHL suspending its season on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though they had a better win percentage at home, the Blackhawks played some of their best hockey this season when they were on the road, so it wouldn't be surprising if they upset the Oilers by sticking to their road mentality.

“On the road, you’re kind of naturally an underdog," Connor Murphy said in February. "Going into those games, you just seem to rally with each other even more and have some more of that desperation, knowing they could gain momentum with a goal and or a big chance. When you have a little bit of that underdog mentality, I think that can be good, and it gives a little more fight and bite in your game.”