Is Hossa a Selke Trophy candidate? Why not?
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With his stick handling, penalty killing talents and defensive awareness, perhaps winger Marian Hossa deserves consideration for the Selke Trophy, which often is reserved for centers.
Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer
So Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville doesn't think of offense when he thinks of Marian Hossa.
Talk about a compliment to Hossa's all-around game.
"Yeah, especially when you have 400 goals," Quenneville joked on Saturday.
By the time the 32-year-old Hossa retires he's going to be considered one of the greatest offensive players in the history of the NHL. He got his 400th goal in Thursday's win over the Islanders and 2 assists, giving 456 for his career.
Maybe it's those 856 career points that have prevented some from appreciating Hossa's brilliant all-around game. He back checks like few other forwards in the league, kills penalties and has a great stick, which results in take-aways.
Hossa is so good defensively that it leads to the obvious question: Why isn't he ever considered for the Selke Trophy, which goes annually to the NHL's best defensive forward?
Teammate Jonathan Toews, a Selke finalist last season, certainly believes Hossa deserves consideration for the award, even as a winger.
"I think so," Toews said. "It seems it's always a center that's nominated for that position, but I don't see why not (Hossa). He's one of those guys you want on the penalty kill and you want in defensive situations as well as offensive situations. That pretty much defines what that trophy goes for."
Toews is right in that the Selke Trophy usually goes to a center. There have been 33 Selke winners since the inception of the award and only 9 have been wingers, including former Hawks captain Dirk Graham in 1990-91.
Montreal Canadiens Hall of Fame winger Bob Gainey won four Selke Trophies and ex-Dallas Stars winger Jere Lehtinen captured three.
"I don't know if he (hasn't) been on checking lines," Quenneville said when asked why Hossa hasn't received Selke consideration. "I think a lot of times he's playing on top lines offensively.
"But you're looking at guys who are responsible without the puck (as Selke candidates). You think of (Detroit's Pavel) Datsyuk, but offensively and defensively Hoss does exactly what you'd want. He's the type of player that you can play against anybody and you're comfortable no matter who's out there against him."
Toews says there aren't many players in the NHL like Hossa, who is a team best plus-13 with 29 points. Two of Hossa's 12 goals have come short-handed.
"There's nothing he can't do out there," Toews said. "I've said that many times about Hoss; he's one of those complete packages and one of those rare players you don't see too often. But at the same time he's willing to do whatever he has to do to help the team win. He doesn't have that ego where there's things he's too good to do out there. He just goes out there and gets the job done."
Hossa smiled when told how Quenneville doesn't think offense when he thinks about his star player.
"It's hard for me to comment on that statement," Hossa said laughing. "But he knows me and he knows he can count on me when we need to play defense or penalty killing. I enjoy doing it and I guess he has confidence in me. That's my style and I like playing that way."
• Follow Tim's Hawks reports via Twitter @TimSassone, and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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