It has been learned that veteran forward Marian Hossa will not play in the upcoming 2017-18 NHL regular season for the Chicago Blackhawks due to a complication with a skin disorder. Medication associated with the disorder has created issues forcing Hossa to walk away from the NHL — at least while he searches for options and further treatment. It seems likely this could mean Hossa's professional hockey career is over.
In statements released by both Hossa and the Blackhawks, the two sides mutually agreed this was the best time to seek treatment and relayed their respective reasons for the decision. Hossa said:
"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. 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."
The Chicago Blackhawks organization have supported Hossa's decision and hope that Hossa recovers from an issue that's been plaguing him for some time.
Hossa ended with, "I would also like to thank my teammates and the amazing Blackhawks fans for their understanding. With respect to the privacy of my family, I will not be commenting any further on my health."
— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) June 21, 2017
While the severity of an issue such as this is not to be taken lightly, there are many around the NHL who feel as though this sudden inability to play hockey comes at a very convenient time for both Hossa and the Chicago Blackhawks. Some are wondering just how legitimate the issue really is (at least when it comes to Hossa perhaps returning versus retiring).
The Blackhawks are very close to the NHL's salary cap for next season. The tight situation affected how the Hawks approached the NHL Expansion Draft, and now with Hossa going on long-term injury reserve (LTR), Chicago is freed of another $5.25 million in cap space.
Because Hossa has made the bulk of his money from a 12-year contract he signed in 2009, it seems suspicious that this ailment would be an issue now that Hossa is facing a close to 80 percent pay cut. The final years of his deal were a large cap hit for the team but paid Hossa only $1 million per season. He made $7.9 million per season for the first seven years of the deal.
By all accounts, Hossa is a great person. It seems odd to think that this could be anything but a real issue.