A month has passed since the announcement that Marian Hossa would miss at least the 2017-18 season with a skin disorder, and his Blackhawks teammates still appear stunned by the news.
"It’s heartbreaking what he has to go through when you know it’s too soon (to not play again)," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said Friday as the 10th annual Blackhawks Convention commenced at the Hilton Chicago. "He’s got a ton left on the table. I could almost see him being one of those (Jaromir) Jagrs that is playing for another six or seven years. It’s tough to see."
Due to salary cap restrictions, the Hawks have said only that Hossa will miss the upcoming season, but it’s likely the 38-year-old has played his last NHL game. General manager Stan Bowman wouldn’t speculate on the possibility that Hossa could return in 2018-19 or beyond.
"As far as making predictions, I don’t think it’s the time to be doing that," Bowman said.
For now, the Hawks will learn to cope without Hossa both and off the ice.
"I was able to play with him for a handful of seasons and he’s a true pro," winger Patrick Sharp said. "He’s going to be missed definitely on the ice, but more importantly for guys like me, he’s going to be missed in the locker room, as well."
Photos of Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa.
Getting comfy: The biggest challenge for Vinnie Hinostroza last season was walking into the Hawks’ dressing room. It took him a moment to digest that players he considered superstars were now his teammates.
Now, he’s ready for another chance.
"I’m going to walk in and say ‘Hi’ to everyone," Hinostroza said.
The Bartlett native split time with the Hawks and Rockford of the AHL last season. In 49 games with the big club, Hinostroza had six goals and eight assists.
In order to stay in the lineup, the 23-year-old plans to use his speed to his advantage. He has worked on his defense and puck possession and cleaned up basics like starting and stopping.
"Going in this year nothing is going to be new to me," Hinostroza said.
Giving back: A tweet involving Patrick Kane went viral in May when a flight attendant tweeted a photo of herself with the Hawks winger and the words "Patrick Kane from The BLACKHAWKS gave up his 1st Class seat to a SOLDIER … what a class act…"
The tweet by @TeriTruss has since generated nearly 5,000 retweets and more than 19,000 likes.
"I didn’t really realize it was going to take off or anything," Kane said Friday. "It was just something in the moment where I asked if they wanted to have my first-class seat and one of them took it. It was cool that he did that and I got to sit next to another soldier on the plane and talk to him the whole plane ride. Those are moments that kind of ground you a little bit and humble you a little bit."
Hobbling: Forward Tommy Wingels, who signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Hawks earlier this month, suffered a left foot fracture during offseason training but is expected to be ready to go by training camp.
"These things happen sometimes in the summer with guys training hard, but all indication he’s going to be OK to go first day of camp," Bowman said.