On the weekend Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa played his 1000th career NHL game and on Tuesday night the Blackhawks organization honoured Hossa with a ceremony before their game. All his Blackhawks teammates wore #81 jerseys in warm up and to put the night over the top Marian Hossa scored a goal in a night all about #81. Playing in 1000 career NHL games is quite the accomplishment in a career that has lasted 15 NHL seasons, so it begs the question Is Marian Hossa a Hall of Fame Player? But in addition to the discussion of him being a Hall of Famer, has Marian Hossa had the most under-rate career in the NHL?
While watching the Blackhawks/ Wild game last night one of the broadcasters was talking about Hossa and his 1000th game accomplishment and he said; "Success just seems to follow this guy around, he's one of the most successful players but he doesn't get a lot of credit." That got me thinking. When you think about some of the best players in the game, especially ones who have been around as long as Hossa you think of guys like Chris Pronger, Nicklas Lidstrom, Teemu Selanne, Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur but Hossa isn't exactly the first name to pop into one's head. Heck Hossa isn't even the first name you think of when talking about the Chicago Blackhawks, those honours go to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
But when you really sit back and look at the numbers Marian Hossa has had a career that many would envy. He's hit the 70 point plateau 7 times, reached the coveted 100 point plateau in 2006-2007 (with the Atlanta Thrashers of all teams) and has hit the 80 point plateau twice. Although remarkably he's never hit the 50 goal plateau. He's reached the playoffs in 12 of his 15 NHL seasons, helped the Blackhawks win their first Stanley Cup in 49 years and age 34 shows no signs of slowing down.
While Hossa has found success with virtually every team he's played for and reached the Stanley Cup Finals twice in a row- once with the Pittsburgh Penguins and then with the Detroit Red Wings the following season, his best success has come with the Blackhawks. Last year (before his concussion) he was lighting things up with the Blackhawks as he had 77 points in 81 games and of course he finally won the cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, after falling just short the two previous seasons. Although Marian Hossa has only been with the Blackhawks for four seasons he will go down as one of the best Blackhawks the franchise has seen. He's an elite forward who puts in work at both ends of the ice, a unique player by today's standards when you look at Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos primarily focused on offence. Much like Kane, Marian Hossa has the ability to make the impossible seem possible and while he doesn't play with the same type of style or intensity of Kane, there's no doubt Hossa is just as passionate about the game and winning. Heck he switched from the Penguins to play for the Red Wings because the Wings beat the Penguins in the Stanley Cup final- Hossa is the type of player who wants to win and he's found a team capable of winning.
With the way the Blackhawks and Hossa are playing right now, there's a very real possibility that he could win his 2nd Stanley Cup. Since only a few great players ever win the Stanley Cup wouldn't the chance to win his 2nd put him in the elite category? Heck wouldn't the fact he's been to 4 Stanley Cup finals put him in the elite category alone? So why is Marian Hossa still a player who get's forgotten about when talking about the best players in the game?
Is it because he's 34 now and is playing behind 2 superstars on the Blackhawks? Or the fact he seems to be "injury prone?" My guess is it's a bit of both, it's hard to steal headlines away from Kane and Toews and unless you focus on the Blackhawks he's kind of an after thought even with his 10 goals and 18 points this season. But Hossa has had a difficult time staying healthy during his lengthy NHL career and went 5 straight season playing less than 75 games from 2007-2011. The majority of his injuries have been because of his knee's, but he's also had shoulder surgery and a neck injury. But the most drastic was perhaps after a devastating concussion on a dirty hit from Raffi Torres that put his NHL career in jeopardy.
So why is Marian Hossa who is still among the NHL's elite so underrated? With 1001 NHL games under his belt with 427 goals and 922 points he is among the NHL elite. With at least 3 more seasons in the tank, a possible shot at another Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks , and the 2014 Sochi Olympics around the corner there's not telling how much Hossa will be able to accomplish before he hangs up the skates.
So back to the original question- Does Hossa belong in the Hall of Fame or Hall of very good? As of right now Marian Hossa belongs in the Hall of very Good- heck maybe even the Hall of incredibly talented, but not the Hall of Fame. In 15 seasons he hasn't once hit the 50 goal plateau and has only hit the 100 point plateau once. Despite being one of the best right wingers in the NHL he doesn't have any individual awards to his name and with him being 34 he's probably not going to win any scoring awards. Saying that if he is to win another Stanley Cup and reach 1000 or 1200 points he may get in, but not a first ballot Hall of Famer. As of right now Marian Hossa is in the Hall of Very Good only time will tell if he can make it into the Hall of Fame.
Now to decide on whether Marian Hossa has had an underrated NHL career. A large part of his game that is underrated his is two-way play, he's a phenomenal offencive talent but just as good in his own end. He'll block shots and kill penalties which a lot "stars" wont, yet he'll still score you close to 30 goals a season. He's always been a key player on every team he's played for, but usually doesn't get a ton of credit for that teams success- which is why Marian Hossa is an underrated player.
What do you think?