Photos of Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa.
Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa often said he would keep playing hockey no matter his age so long as his body allowed him to continue.
Hossa’s body may have made up his mind for him.
Hossa might have played his last game because of a serious allergy to his equipment, according a report from the Canadian broadcast network Sportsnet, an allergy he has battled for some time.
The Hawks did not respond to requests for comment. Hossa’s agent Ritch Winter did not respond to a request for comment and efforts to reach Hossa were unsuccessful late Tuesday night.
But a statement from either Hossa or the Hawks is expected soon, possibly as early as Wednesday.
The report stated Hossa, 38, had to play while taking medication for the allergy and had to have his blood tested every few weeks to make sure there were no side effects.
If it is the end of Hossa’s career, he will finish with Hall of Fame credentials. He played in parts of 19 seasons and compiled 534 career goals while winning three Stanley Cups with the Hawks, with whom he signed a 12-year, $62.8 million deal before the 2009-10 season.
Hossa had a rebound season in 2016-17 with 26 goals and 19 assists. After the Hawks were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Nashville Predators, Hossa said that he planned on playing in 2017-18.
The next question would be how Hossa and the Hawks would handle his potential exit from the game. If Hossa were to retire, the Hawks would face severe salary-cap recapture penalties for the next four seasons, the remainder of Hossa’s contract. The current collective bargaining agreement set in place these penalties for long-term deals like Hossa’s that were backloaded in terms of their payouts. Hossa is set to make just $1 million each of the next four seasons in real money and carries a cap hit of $5.275 million.
But the Hawks may not face those penalties if Hossa goes on long-term injured reserve, an option that other teams have employed with players carrying potentially large cap penalties at the end of their career.
For instance, defenseman Chris Pronger was on injured reserve with the Flyers and later the Coyotes through this season even though he hadn’t played a game since 2011 because of the effects of concussions.
During an interview after the Hawks lost to the Predators, Hossa said his body felt good and he was looking forward to preparing for next season.
“I love to be in the gym,” Hossa said on April 22. “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 can not 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.”
Tom Reid, a former Blackhawk and North Star who broadcasts games for the Wild, had to retire in 1978 after an 11-year career because of skin problems related to an allergy with his equipment. Reid told the Tribune in 2015 his ailment was caused by a combination of friction and sweat and took away a layer of skin from his neck to his waist.
From Nick Schmaltz to Patrick Kane: The Blackhawks’ first-round picks from 2007-2016.