Thursday, July 13, 2017

Marian Hossa Jersey Card

When all is said and done, Marian Hossa will enter the Hockey Hall Of Fame as one of the best two-way players of all time, the prototypical player of the 2000s and 2010s, a three-time Stanley Cup Champion and five-time finalist, and a guy who should at least have a Selke Trophy to his name but was robbed of one because of the position he plays. Indeed, wingers rarely get the honor, and some centers (Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews, Pavel Datsyuk) - despite being great players in their own right - have at least one too many.

It was learned last month that he will miss the entire 2017-18 season due to a skin disorder that some have equated to an allergic reaction to his hockey equipment, but as someone who suffers from a similar condition, I can say it's much more than that. In my case, it's not body-wide, instead concentrating on the patches of skin binding the legs and groin area, and my underarm on just one side. Rashes appear when in contact with a significant quantity of sweat, salt water, and/or extended friction, as well as some cheap, perfume-y deodorants. It burns so much it can cause the nerves in those areas to extend to create a forced movement, limiting the ability to continue whatever one's doing despite the pain, as the body can react without the brain's consent to change its condition.

Throughout my life, I've mostly dealt with this issue with my skin in contact with t-shirts and boxer shorts, so I can't imagine someone having that reaction while wearing hockey equipment that absorbs sweat on a permanent basis that you keep putting back on, nor can I fathom dealing with that on a larger scale than what I have - and if he's getting medical treatment for it, I assume he has it either in more open areas or has it on a larger proportion of his body.

Sure, some are complaining about his time off coming at age 38, when he's about to enter a four-year span where his salary will be $1M with a cap hit of $5.275M that goes off the books if he is on the long-term injury list; however, those folks need to remember that Hossa was still an important player on the Chicago Blackhawks last season, finishing fifth in team scoring with 45 points (26 goals and 19 assists) in 73 games with just 8 penalty minutes, used as the team's top penalty killer.

The Hawks could definitely still have used his services, and he still has enough skill to be an effective NHLer. As a matter of fact, the Hawks could very well miss the playoffs in his absence, now that they've traded away Artemi Panarin's 31 goals, 43 assists and near point-per-game production. Brandon Saad can almost replace one of Hossa and Panarin, but certainly not both of them.

We'll see how it works out in the end, and there's a small chance he could be back next year (though, at age 39, with a full year out of game shape, those chances are extremely slim), but for now, let's watch him wearing the Hawks' beautiful alternate old-school jersey on card #AF-MH from Upper Deck's 2010-11 SP Game-Used Edition collection and Authentic Fabrics sub-set:
It features a rather large red game-worn jersey swatch.

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