He was everything they needed and more. When Marian Hossa became the greatest free-agent signing in Chicago sports history on July 1, 2009, all bets were off and the sky was the limit for the Blackhawks.
When the Hawks were eliminated in the Conference Finals by the Red Wings in 2009, they knew they were close but were lacking something.
"I know he really appreciated coming to the Hawks at a crucial time because we needed something to get over that hump and I think he was a huge part of it," former Hawk forward Bryan Bickell, who played a role on all three recent Chicago Cup teams (2010, 2013, 2015) with Hossa said over the phone after Hossa's big news was announced. "For him, I'm sure he wasn't thinking about the Hall of Fame, he was thinking about (the) team first, winning and now he's in this stage of his life and getting the opportunity so short after, which is pretty cool for him."
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Former Hawk and two-time Stanley Cup champ Dave Bolland thinks Hossa getting into the Hall is a mark of how special the Blackhawks golden age squad that earned three Cups was.
"One-hundred percent." Bolland said. "I'm pretty sure there's going to be a lot more Hall of Famers from that team. It's just great to see guys you played with and a guy like Hoss that is just an all-around great person, and he did a lot for us, to see him get that and be a Hall of Famer is unbelievable."
One of the Blackhawks dynasty's most valuable players becoming a Hall of Famer on his first ballot no doubt illustrates how special that team was. His accomplishments flew under the radar at times.
The majority of the attention was always on Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and Hossa's defensive prowess - that saw him end his playing career with an unbelievable +/- rating of +245 - often went unnoticed as well. The main thing is the Selection Committee recognized Hossa's immense value and there should be more of his Blackhawks teammates joining him in the Hall in the near future.