Tag: Patrick Kane

Marian Hossa, Ryan Kesler

Hossa’s age just one of the challenges facing Blackhawks


Did you know that Marian Hossa is the second-oldest forward still playing in these playoffs?

It’s true — only Martin St. Louis, 39, is older.

In the playoffs, Hossa, 36, has been the fifth-oldest forward overall. During the regular season, only 17 forwards in the entire league were older than he was.

Why are we bringing this up? Because Hossa only played 14:44 last night in Anaheim, his lowest ice time in these playoffs.

So, is he hurt? Or, is he just tired?  

Yesterday, an article in the Chicago Sun-Times questioned whether all the “marathons” the Blackhawks have played this postseason were taking a toll:

Hossa as much as any Hawk gives it all he’s got. You can see the determination in his game. But the reality is that after 17 seasons in the NHL, he is challenged more than most to maintain his level of impact as the minutes pile up. 

To be sure, Hossa remains a very effective player. He has 11 points in 15 playoff games, and his possession stats are among the best on the Blackhawks. But his age is a factor, whether fans like it or not. It’s the same thing in Boston with Zdeno Chara and Detroit with Pavel Datsyuk.

Hossa may not get the accolades those two do, possibly because so much attention is given to teammates Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith. But he’s been vitally important in the Blackhawks’ two championship runs in the last five years. There aren’t many, if any, wingers who play such a strong two-way game.

Hossa isn’t going anywhere. He still has six seasons left on his front-loaded, 12-year contract — the kind of contract they don’t allow anymore. There could be a cap-recapture issue down the line.

But for the Blackhawks to remain contenders over the next few years, it’ll be up to youngsters like Teuvo Teravainen and Artemi Panarin to step up and offset the decline in Hossa’s play — a decline that happens to even the greatest players as they get older.

Now feels like a good time to debate Stamkos’ next contract

Tampa Bay Lightning v New York Rangers - Game Five

Some interesting debate fodder here, from Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe:

The notion sounds so goofy that it should be promptly dismissed. Steven Stamkos is Tampa Bay’s captain and signature player. But there is chatter wondering if Stamkos’s eventual blockbuster contract — he will be a UFA on July 1, 2016 — would be steep enough to prompt the Lightning to deal their captain. This speaks to several things: Stamkos’s asking price, uncertainty about the salary cap in the future, and Tampa’s depth. 

We’d add that Stamkos has played almost 500 games in the NHL, plus the playoffs. He’s only 25, but the Lightning know as well as any team that a superstar forward’s numbers can really fall off as he approaches the age of 30.

Lest we forget how productive Vincent Lecavalier was when he was Stamkos’ current age, and how quickly he suddenly wasn’t…


Lecavalier started an 11-year, $85 million contract in 2009-10. That same contract was bought out in 2013. This past season, he was a frequent healthy scratch in Philadelphia.

Knowing that, might the Bolts think twice before signing Stamkos to the kind of deal that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane got in Chicago? Because that’s the kind of max-term, big-money commitment he’d be able to get elsewhere.

For the record, Stamkos said in January that he was happy in Tampa Bay, and GM Steve Yzerman said it was the club’s “priority” to get an extension done this summer.

In fact, Yzerman said he wants Stamkos to lead the Bolts “for many years to come.” No wonder given what it takes to acquire a player of Stamkos’ caliber in the first place. The Lightning probably aren’t a win away from the Stanley Cup Final without him.

Of course, with the leverage Stamkos will bring into negotiations, “many years” may be Yzerman’s only option, for better or worse.

Related: In case you haven’t noticed, the NHL is a young man’s game

From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks


Antoine Vermette admitted he wasn’t happy with being a healthy scratch for the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3. Back in the lineup on Saturday, he played the role of hero in Game 4.

Vermette scored the winner at 5:37 of the second overtime, pushing the Blackhawks to a 5-4 victory in a thriller against the Anaheim Ducks that evens the Western Conference Final at two games apiece.

Head coach Joel Quenneville explained that his decision to remove Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen on Thursday was to get some “fresh legs” in the lineup.

Back on the ice Saturday, Teravainen contributed an assist on the winner in 18:07 of ice time. But Vermette came through with a huge goal for the Blackhawks, and his second of the post-season, ensuring this series goes a minimum of six games.

It also capped off a thoroughly entertaining game that saw six goals scored in 10 minutes in the third period.

The two teams entered the third period tied 1-1. Jonathan Toews, with his first of the series, and Brent Seabrook scored to give Chicago a two-goal lead on home ice. But the Ducks, masters of third-period comebacks in these playoffs, scored three times in 37 seconds to take back the lead in stunning fashion.

Patrick Kane scored on a power play, which had been an area the Blackhawks had struggled in during this series, jamming the puck by Frederik Andersen to eventually send this game to overtime.