Considering Chicago Blackhawks’ forward
Marian Hossa is now 38-years-old and will be sitting out the entire 2017/18 NHL
season, many fans are wondering if they’ll ever see him play again. It was announced
in late June that the high-scoring native of Slovakia would miss the upcoming
campaign due to a skin disorder and the side effects he’s suffering from
medication to treat it. Hossa still has four years to go on his current 12-year
contract which he signed as a free agent in the summer of 2009.
Hossa has played eight seasons with the
Blackhawks and won three Stanley Cups with the team. Like the 45-year-old
Jaromir Jagr, there’s not really any sign that Hossa’s slowing down with age.
He chipped in with 26 goals and 19 assists for 45 points in 73 games in the
Windy City last season and was a plus-7 with seven game-winning goals. Hossa
broke into the league in 1997/98 with the Ottawa Senators and has also played
with the Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh and Detroit.
He’s racked up 1,134 points in 1,309
regular-season games on 525 goals and 609 assists, is a plus-245 and has 85
game-winners. Hossa has also contributed 149 points in 205 playoff contests,
played in five Stanley Cup finals and scored 415 of his points while playing in
Chicago. His salary-cap hit is $5.275 million per year, but Blackhawks fans
definitely want to see him on the ice rather than the club saving cap space by
placing him on the long-term injury list.
Hossa’s skin condition is related to an
allergy the player has to his hockey equipment. He’s been treated for the
problem for the past few years, but suffers from severe side effects to the
treatment. It’s now become so bad that he’s going to have to sit out for a year
or even longer. Skin conditions related to hockey equipment were common in the
1970s as several players developed them due to a cleaning product that was used
on the equipment.
The cleaning formula was supposed to keep
the equipment free from mold and mildew, but numerous players were allergic to
it. Those who were developed a painful rash which was given the nickname ‘The
Gunk.’ Defenceman Tom Reid of the Minnesota North Stars was one of the players
who suffered from the skin rash and was forced to retire from the NHL after the
1977/78 season at the age of 31. Reid said the whole side of his body became
infected and he had to wrap himself in towels when trying to sleep.
Reid went on to say that he couldn’t take
any more cortisone shots to help relieve the pain and symptoms and he had to
hang up his skates for good. With Hossa missing just 46 games over the last
half dozen seasons it would seem that his treatments were going well for awhile
or he’s used to playing through the pain and side effects. For Hossa to
suddenly sit out a season, Blackhawks fans now fear the worst and are wondering
if he’ll suffer the same fate as Reid or return in 2018/19.
Labels: Ian Palmer