WATCH: Blackhawks' Marian Hossa joins 500-goal club
The seasoned veteran is only the fourth active player to reach the iconic milestone
Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa entered the NHL season one goal shy of a major milestone. The seasoned veteran was sitting on 499 goals through the first three games of the 2016-17 campaign with every shot representing a chance to round out that total in a rather significant fashion.
In his fourth game of the season, Hossa managed to hit the 500 mark at home and celebrate in style Tuesday night.
With the Blackhawks leading the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0, Hossa broke down the left wing as we've seen him do so many times throughout his career. Artem Anisimov's pass deflected right onto his tape and then Hossa surprised Michal Neuvirth with a sneaky backhand that slipped under the Flyers goaltender.
The United Center erupted and the spotlight shined brightly on Hossa as he celebrated his goal. The ovation continued for some time as Hossa obliged the crowd and the spotlight operator with skate to center ice. The typically reserved Hossa raised his stick and that was that.
Including Tuesday night's contest, Hossa has appeared in 1,240 NHL games over a brilliant 19-year career. He has made a major impact for three different franchises during that time. It's hard to believe, but Hossa has been with Chicago for the past eight years -- his longest stop in the NHL. He has scored 161 of his 500 with the Original Six club, which is also where he has won his three Stanley Cups.
Hossa also spent seven years with the Ottawa Senators, where he scored 188 goals and was with the Atlanta Thrashers for three years. He put up 108 goals in 222 games there. Hossa also had briefer stints with the Detroit Red Wings, with whom he scored 40 goals in 2008-09, and an even briefer stop with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007-08.
The Slovakian star is the 44th member of the 500-goal club and only the second from his home country. Peter Bondra was the first Slovakian NHLer to reach that plateau, also doing it as a member of the Blackhawks in 2006. Hossa is one of only four active players, joining Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla and Alexander Ovechkin, to have reached the milestone.
While 500 goals doesn't necessarily guarantee a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame, Hossa is at least giving himself a chance to get there with another feather in his cap. Getting to 500 goals in an era where scoring is as difficult as it has ever been in the league is quite impressive. He is also one of the game's best defensive wingers and has been for years.
Hossa is 38 years old. He has four years remaining on his current contract after this one. His role with the Blackhawks is starting to diminish; he is seeing more time on their third line, but he already has four points this season and is coming off a really strong performance at the World Cup of Hockey. If he has the energy and can stay healthy, he still should have a few good years in him to continue cementing his already strong legacy.
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