Chicago Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa is 35-years-old. In any other sport — baseball, football, soccer, basketball (maybe not auto racing) — he would be considered well past his prime and close to retirement. In fact, there were concerns that perhaps Hossa was getting a little bit over the hill. Then the most recent stretch of games happened. To put it simply, Hossa is making the skeptics eat their words about his age.
Hossa has had five goals in as many games in this current stretch. He also has 42 points in 46 games, so concerns about his offensive abilities are starting to diminish. Perhaps part of the problem was concern over his speed. Well, perhaps he’s not as fast, but he’s still got good skating and puck-handling ability that more than make up for his possibly diminishing speed (assuming that’s happening). But he’s still got a goal-scorer’s touch as evidenced by the goal he scored against Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins.
I remember watching him during his Blackhawks debut, and once he scored his first goal with the team he didn’t really celebrate. He just acted like it was natural, and I was so impressed with that. That’s what Hossa always brings to the team and why the concussion he suffered after the illegal hit from then-Phoenix Coyotes goon Raffi Torres hurt the team in the 2012 playoffs. Once he returned in 2013, he became a big part of the team’s 24-game points streak and eventual Stanley Cup run. This year, he’ll be making his second Olympic appearance for Slovakia.
If this were any other sport, Marian Hossa would be considered over the hill. But hockey is well known for guys playing 15-20 year careers, and let’s not get into Gordie Howe. Maria Hossa is 35-years-old and he’s playing as if he was 25. He knows this, his teammates know this and the fans know it. Hossa was brought to the Hawks for a reason — to be a complete player. And age means very little, because he’s still a complete player. How long he’ll last is not the question; how long he’ll last is up for debate.
But right now, he’s as good as he’s ever been.