Saturday, July 12, 2014

Marcel Hossa Jersey Card

I miss Marcel Hossa.

After failing to secure an NHL contract on favorable terms, he has now spent seven seasons in the KHL, four of them in three separate stints with Dinamo Riga. He actually was the league's leading goal scorer in 2009-10, with 35 goals in 56 games. Apart from a sub-par season in 2012-13 with the lowly Lev Praha, he has been a point-per-game player (or close) in the KHL - a rare feat - including posting 41 points (off 22 goals) in 50 games this past year.

At 32 years old and coming off his third straight Olympics with Team Slovakia, and a silver medal at the 2012 World Championships - so after both individual and team success, and having matured
 - I think he could be a terrific middle-six forward in the NHL, a second-line winger on a playoff-bubble team, or a third-liner with some powerplay time (up to a minute per game) on a deep team that doesn't use its third line exclusively as a checking and grinding line.

Just because he won't turn out to be another Marian Hossa doesn't mean he can't be his own man, and that that wouldn't be enough. Even on this side of the pond, he participated in the YoungStars game, and when the New York Rangers put him on their top line for a month, he responded with 8 goals and 18 points in 11 games. It was after an injury and when he was relegated to a lower echelon (from the first line to the third) that things went sour, eventually leading to his being traded to the Phoenix Coyotes - a lose-lose situation if I've ever seen one - and subsequent fall from grace in North America.

Speaking of his good things he's done while in the NHL, here's a card from Topps' 2002-03 Bowman set (card #FFJ-MH from the Fabric Of The Future sub-sub-set of the YoungStars sub-set, featuring a big white jersey swatch that fits with his Montréal Canadiens' home uniform from the picture):

Notice he's wearing jersey #81, which would be what he'd use for pretty much the rest of his career, except when his brother Marian's also on the team, in which case Marcel would switch to #88 to 18; the first time I met Marcel, he signed two cards where he was sporting #36 with the Habs.

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