As Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa inches closer to becoming the 44th player in NHL history to score 500 goals (he’s currently at 494), he’s getting a lot of love from two Chicago hockey legends, Bobby Hull and Denis Savard, both of whom spoke to CSN at a recent Blackhawks game.
Of course, there’s more to the 37-year-old Slovakian than just goals. He’s long been one of the best two-way players in the game and the guy is just a winner. He’s appeared in six of the last eight Conference Finals and five of the last eight Stanley Cup Finals. He’s in his 17th season and has certainly gained the respect of Hull and Savard, both of whom are members of the Hall of Fame. Bobby Hull scored 610 goals in his career, good for 16th on the all-time list, and the current Blackhawks ambassador had glowing remarks about Hossa.
“There is no one that plays this game of hockey that works any harder than Marian Hossa. 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.”
Denis Savard, who scored 473 goals in his career, echoed Hull’s sentiments.
“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. 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.
“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.”
Marian Hossa is currently playing his 17th season. Savard played for 17 seasons as well before retiring, but the Hall of Famer doesn’t see number 81 following that same path.
“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.”
Let’s hope Denis Savard is right and Hossa still has plenty left in the tank.