Marian Hossa doesn’t spend much time ruminating on his place in hockey history. While it’s become something of a preferred parlor game for puck pundits to debate Hossa’s worthiness for the Hall of Fame, Hossa — 18 years into his remarkable career — still seems almost nonplussed by how far he’s come.
His 1,000th game didn’t change that. Neither did his 1,000th point. So his 500th career goal on Tuesday night is unlikely to, either.
“I never thought I could be one day close to this number,” Hossa said last week. “That is something maybe over time I’m going to appreciate even more. But right now, try to focus on the next game and when the things happen, I’ll be more than happy.”
Hossa was plenty happy on Tuesday night, unleashing a primal scream and shouting, “Yeah, baby!” after his backhander made him the 44th player in NHL history to reach the 500-goal plateau. The tally — a typical Hossa power move to the net, complete with the big Slovak shrugging off of Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald — put the Hawks up 4-0 and chased Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth in the second period.
While Hossa’s humble nature might not change, the Hawks can only hope the milestone goal is a sign that his luck is changing. Hossa had been sitting on 499 goals for nearly seven months, his last regular-season goal coming on March 29.
Hossa was expected to reach 500 last season, but injuries and a significant drop in his shooting percentage left with him a career-low 13 goals for the season, and one shy of the milestone. Earlier in the day, Joel Quenneville suggested the dam might burst once Hossa finally got No. 500 out of the way.
“It’ll help,” Quenneville said Tuesday morning. “When you have a major milestone, you’d rather get it over with and move forward. It’ll help your overall game.”