President John McDonough and Patrick Kane had similar reactions to the recent Marian Hossa developments.
They were grateful for how he went about his business with the Blackhawks, and sad about the recent news that Hossa will miss the upcoming season – and quite possibly never play again – because of a progressive skin disorder.
“I think it’s just very sad. He’s had a tremendous career, obviously. Hall of Famer for sure, but he’s done some great things here in Chicago,” Kane said after a tour of the Hawks’ under-construction practice facility. “I think, more importantly than, as good of as a player he was, he was such a great teammate and a great person. I had the privilege of sitting next to him the past six or seven years in the locker room, so I’ll have memories of us just kind of laughing, all before morning skates and practices and having good times with him.
“Great human being, sad news and hopefully it’s nothing that’s career-threatening.”
McDonough said the team was aware Hossa had been battling the skin condition for a while, and thinks he’s making the right decision to sit out the 2017-18 season. McDonough said he spoke with Hossa on Thursday, and that the future Hall of Famer is “certainly appreciative (of) how everybody understands.”
Like Kane, McDonough was effusive in his praise of Hossa.
“You’re talking about a guy who might, arguably, be the classiest athlete I’ve ever been around. A guy that’s terrific with people, very appreciative for what he has and we don’t win three Stanley Cups if we don’t have Marian Hossa,” McDonough said. “It was a blow to everybody. We’re still kind of absorbing it, actually. This was a decision that he made and certainly (team physician Dr. Michael Terry) and the rest of the organization supported it.”
Kane knew that Hossa had been dealing with the condition but “I don’t think we knew to an extent that it would be like a whole season missed.”
And that makes what Hossa did last season even more impressive, when he scored 26 goals and didn’t look like a 38-year-old player.
“I think it obviously speaks to his character and a testament to what he’s done over the course of his career here in Chicago,” Kane said.
“The highest-character role model mentor to everybody, just to me, once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime kind of guys that has every ingredient,” McDonough said. “Every time I get a chance to see his parents – his parents came in this season – I just said ‘Look, you did a great job raising your son.’ He’s thoughtful, off the ice he’s always curious about other people. Just a Hall of Fame person. He’ll be around.”
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