Is Marian Hossa Really Appreciated?

Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks (Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)
Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks
(Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports)

Marian Hossa is one of the NHL’s best players, though it seems, at times, that he does not get the same media spotlight given to other great players. It poses the question: Is Hossa really appreciated?

Hossa’s History

At 36, Hossa is on the back side of his career. But, there is no mistaking his contribution not only to the Chicago Blackhawks, but to the other teams on which he has played throughout his long career.

Drafted 12th overall in 1997 by the Ottawa Senators, Hossa has played with the Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Detroit Red Wings. He has been a prolific goal scorer and contributor all along the way. This season, his 17th, he scored 22 goals and had 39 assists. Sixty-one points is not bad in anyone’s book, especially for a player that has been around as long as Hossa.

Over his storied career, he has scored 486 goals and had 570 assists. His 1,056 points puts him in a group of only 80 other players with over 1,000. Hossa has been steady and a player that can be counted on year in and year out to contribute. But, is he really appreciated?

Early recollections

Allow me to wax personal a bit. I remember when Marian Hossa left the Pittsburgh Penguins to go to a team that he said, “Had a better opportunity to win the Stanley Cup.” Honestly, my first reaction when I heard that was not positive. I found it to be a bit arrogant.

But, as the season progressed, I found myself learning to appreciate Hossa’s consistency, and he did go out and try to help the Detroit Red Wings win a Stanley Cup that season, but came up short. Frankly, I was impressed.

Last April, so was Sidney Crosby, who had this to say about his former teammate,

“From playing with him, regardless of how he’s playing, I think he’s such a good player. He’s so reliable on both ends of the ice and he’s always tough to play against, regardless if he’s on a hot streak or not. I think he always presents a pretty good challenge.”

Not a bad commentary from the player many consider to be the NHL’s best. Yet, it seems to me that Hossa simply does not get the spotlight. It makes me wonder if he is really appreciated.

Hossa is a post-season machine

I wonder how many people are aware of Marian Hossa’s post-season prowess. So far – because he certainly doesn’t appear done yet – Hossa has scored 49 playoff goals and had 91 playoff assists. That’s 140 post-season points, and that is simply outstanding.

In fact, Hossa is second on the all-time leading post-season scoring list among active players, only to Jaromir Jagr. He just seems to keep up the pace year after year, being steady and reliable. Here’s a great column wherein the light bulb has gone off for one writer about just how great Hossa has been over the years. Kukla’s Korner on May 6th had this title: I Now Consider Marian Hossa a Hall of Famer. Before coming to the conclusion that Hossa should be in the Hall of Fame, there is this statement which proves my point,

“My problem with Hossa is that he was never in the argument to be the best player in the NHL or even in his position.”

The guy is not really appreciated, in my opinion. He has just gone out and worked hard, done his job, and appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals like clockwork in the process. Not getting the accolades of a Crosby or even of his teammates Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews, he nevertheless keeps grinding and winning.

Whether he is really appreciated on the same level as the superstars of the game, Marian Hossa has left his mark all over the NHL, and may be hoisting the Stanley Cup again in a couple of weeks. He left his mark on the Anaheim Ducks in game seven of the Western Conference Finals without even using his stick:

The hockey world will debate whether or not the goal should have counted and the NHL may need to revisit the “kicking motion” rule altogether. But, things like that just seem to happen when you are great, you get the breaks. And Hossa got one on that play.

But, more importantly, look where he was. Right in Frederik Andersen’s grill. (Carolina Hurricanes players this is what Coach Peters has been trying to teach). Age 36 and still crashing the net. That is classic Marian Hossa, and I for one really do appreciate his longevity and his play. Blackhawks fans should, also:

Maybe one day the hockey world will really see just what they’ve had all these years. He may never reach superstar status in the minds of the media or fans, but he is truly one of the NHL’s greatest players ever.

Mark Shiver is a staff writer for The Hockey Writers  credentialed with the Carolina Hurricanes. You can follow him on Twitter @markshiver