Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa will miss the upcoming season because of what he said is a “progressive skin condition” and the “severe side effects” of the medication used to treat it.
“Over the course of the last few years, under the supervision of the Blackhawks medical staff, I have been privately undergoing treatment for a progressive skin disorder and the side effects of the medications involved to treat the disorder,” Hossa said in the statement released by the Blackhawks. “Due to the severe side effects associated with those medications, playing hockey is not possible for me during the upcoming 2017-18 season.
“While I am disappointed that I will not be able to play, I have to consider the severity of my condition and how the treatments have impacted my life both on and off the ice.”
Although some reports indicated that his career was in jeopardy, Hossa did not go there in his statement. Nor did he disclose details about the disorder or the medication. However, Blackhawks physician Michael Terry referred to the “dramatic nature” of the medications and their “diminishing effectiveness.”
“Marian has been dealing with the effects of a progressive skin disorder that is becoming more and more difficult to treat and control with conventional medications while he plays hockey,” Terry said. “Because of the dramatic nature of the medications required and their decreasing effectiveness, we strongly support his decision not to play during the 2017-18 season. We feel in the most certain terms this is the appropriate approach for Marian in order to keep him functional and healthy in the short term and throughout his life.”
Hossa, 38, is a 19-year NHL veteran considered one of the best defensive forwards in the league. Hossa, who has been a part of the Blackhawks’ three Stanley Cup-winning teams over his eight seasons with the team, had 26 goals and 19 assists last season. In April, he told the Chicago Tribune that he hoped to play next season.
“I love to be in the gym,” Hossa said. “I love to train and prepare and maybe one year when I feel it’s not there I’m going to know, but right now I still enjoy it. … If I feel like I cannot skate anymore, keep up with the young guys, that would have me thinking at home is it worth it to take somebody’s spot? But I still feel I have something to bring to the team, help the team in different areas so I don’t think that way right now.”
The Tribune’s Chris Hine points out that the wording of Hossa’s statement has important implications for more mundane matters concerning the team. Announcing his retirement would create serious salary-cap recapture penalties for the next four seasons, the amount of time left on Hossa’s contract. Hossa, who will make $1 million in each of the next four seasons in real money, carries a cap hit of $5.275 million. Saying only that he would miss the next season makes him a candidate for long-term injured reserve status and the team could get cap relief to replace him.