Marian Hossa scores 500th goal in Hawks’ victory

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CHICAGO, IL - MAY 03: Marian Hossa #81 of the Chicago Blackhawks hugs Jonathan Toews #19 after Toews scored a second period goal against the Minnesota Wild in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on May 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

by Scott King

It was the milestone that every Blackhawks fan in Chicago had been waiting for and perhaps Marian Hossa himself. The Hall of Fame right of passage Hossa sought had carried over from last season. The winger ended the 2015-2016 regular season with 499 NHL goals. Tuesday night at the United Center in the Hawks’ 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, Hossa became the 44th player in NHL history to reach 500 goals.

The Blackhawks organization had a 500 goal graphic ready to go for the jumbotron and the Madhouse on Madison was on their feet to salute a legend. Hossa was able to soak in the moment and salute the fans back with the spotlight on him near a jovial Blackhawks bench.

“To tell you the truth, it felt great,” Hossa said. “Great reception from the fans. I’m just glad to be part of the company, and would like to thank all my teammates who I play with.

“Never thought one day I could be close to this number. It’s something [that] maybe over time I can appreciate even more.”

The Slovakia native humbly credits luck for his more than likely journey to the hall of fame.

“I was lucky with not many big injuries and [that] I can play with great players,” Hossa said. “They definitely helped me score these numbers. The main thing that made me happy the most when I joined Chicago, we won those three cups. That’s my highlight and that’s something that will always be on my mind.”

The three-time Stanley Cup champion was happy to get the milestone out of the way early in the season.

“It was game four, so I was just glad to score pretty early in this season,” Hossa said. “Obviously [I] had great opportunities last game, but the puck didn’t go in. Just happy to do it now.”

Patrick Kane, who knows a thing or two about on-ice achievements, was in awe of Hossa’s stellar accomplishment.

“What an amazing moment that was,” said last season’s league MVP. “You could tell he was excited, the crowd was excited. Pretty cool celebration with him coming over to the bench and getting everyone involved too. What an amazing career 500 goals. What more can you say about that? He’s still skating well, playing well, it seems like he still has more left in him too.”

Kane knows firsthand it isn’t allows easy to put down the stat sheet or get the numbers out of your head when playing.

“I think everyone pays attention to their own numbers, what the numbers are for your teammates, around the league, things like that,” Kane said. “It was one of those things, I don’t know if I want to say weighing on him, because it was only a few games into the season, but I’m sure he wanted to get it done sooner rather than later. Nice way to finish it tonight and get that 500th.”

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville weighed in on Hossa’s big night as well as his big career.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment,” Quenneville said. “Tremendous career. He’s got some offensive numbers that really are great to look at. The best part of his game is the consistency of being a pro night in and night out, being responsible on both sides of the puck, plays hard every single game.

“He’s a good example for our young guys to learn how to play the right way. Nice to see him make that accomplishment tonight. He’s had a ton of success here, he’s a big reason for the success we’ve had.”

Former Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick sent a message to WGN Radio welcoming Hossa to the 500 club:

“As one of his biggest fans I couldn’t be happier and more proud. He’s one of the biggest competitors I’ve ever played against. A certain hall of famer.”

Hossa left the game early after blocking a shot in the third period but said he is fine.

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