In the last three decades, the NHL has grown to be one of the most successful sport league in North America, much to the demise of Gary Bettman critics. While it is certainly true that the commissioner's business tactics have greatly helped fill the pockets of team owners, a great part of the league's present vitality is attributable to intelligent rule changes and additions to the game. In fact, by switching to a four-man officiating scheme, by abolishing the two-line pass rule, and by recently introducing the hybrid icing regulation, the NHL has efficiently managed to switch its game from one that was once renowned for its physicality to one that is now highly dependent on skill and speed.
While many players were unable to follow-suit with the numerous modifications to the game, Marian Hossa has always found a way to keep his role relevant throughout the years. Unfortunately, a progressive skin disorder diagnosis may have brought an end to the prolific forward's career, after it was announced that he would miss the entire 2017-2018 season. The disorder is nothing new for the Blackhawks winger, who's previously stated that, in the past years, he had been privately undergoing treatment for the illness; but, as per team physician Michael Terry, it appears that it is no longer possible for Hossa to continue his professional activities while simultaneously being treated:
"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. 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."
With the likelihood that the 38 year-old's career is over, it seems relevant to remember how much of an impact he had in the NHL. In fact, after being drafted 12th overall by the Ottawa Senators during the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Hossa would go on to have an illustrious career that would be culminated with three Stanley Cup victories.
But the Slovakian national never safeguarded his talent solely for the NHL, contributing largely to his country's international success, particularly during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Once a fringe hockey nation, it is by producing talents such as Hossa that Slovakia has made its way amongst the top international hockey organizations. And if the below picture hints at anything, is that Hossa has always had his origins close to heart:
It is unfortunate to see a future hall-of-famer having to put an end to his career because of ongoing medical issues, especially for something that seems so benign as a skin disease, but as former Detroit Red Wings goaltender Gilles Gilbert once said, the condition is one he would never wish upon his enemies: "Maybe broken legs, but not the rash. You need boxing gloves when you go to sleep. It's worse than a sunburn. It really, really itches. It drives you crazy. When you start sweating, it's worse."
It seems ironic that a player who's surpassed many of his colleagues throughout the years because of his ability to adapt to the NHL's changes would be forced to the sidelines because of a medical issue that used to run rampant in old-time hockey, but it seems that, much like in life, one's past always seems to comeback to haunt them.
Much like this song: