Marian Hossa readies for his 1,000th game

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa has accumulated 426 goals, 495 assists and 921 points, been selected to five all-star games and won a Stanley Cup since he first stepped on the ice in the NHL at age 18 in 1997.

For as much as he has accomplished throughout his career, the 34-year-old Hossa can’t believe how fast it all happened or that he’ll play his 1,000th career NHL regular-season game on Sunday.

“When I look back, it looks like it, yeah, so many years went by so quick,” Hossa said. “I remember as an 18-year-old jumping into this league. All of a sudden, I’m 34, 1,000 games coming up. So time flies.

“First of all, I think it’s an honor for me to reach this milestone. Over those years I think about it: I played with so many great players. I’m just glad I’m making this milestone. Just hopefully, I got a few more left.”

Hossa plans on playing out his 12-year deal with the Blackhawks, so he should have much more than a few years left in him. If he finishes his deal -- which is up in 2021 -- and plays at least 60 games each season, he’ll close out his career among the league’s leaders in games played.

“[I want to play] as long as I can,” Hossa said. “Obviously, you never know what can happen -- you know, injuries or anything like that. You go game by game and try to play your best. Still got a long eight years left, so that’s my goal.”

Hossa is proud of plenty in his career, but winning the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010 ranks above everything else.

“The dream is to win the Cup, so definitely that’s the No. 1 thing,” Hossa said.

Hossa will reach the 1,000-game milestone against the last team he played for prior to signing the long-term deal with the Blackhawks in the summer of 2009. Hossa played the 2008-2009 season with the Red Wings before they parted ways.

Hossa is pleased with how everything turned out.

“When you’re a free agent, there are so many certain openings you can choose from,” Hossa said. “There were just a few teams, so the decision wasn’t that tough. Definitely, it’s a big choice because you’re signing for so long. I’m just glad [for it] to work out how it worked out. Just happy to be here -- a great organization, a first-class organization, great team. So it’s fun.”

The Blackhawks have clearly been pleased, too.

“He’s a tremendous player,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “Overall -- offensive, defensive, positional -- he’s exactly how you want our team to play, because he does it. He plays it to a T.”

“As a coach, he reinforces that team aspect game in, game out,” he said. “He plays at a high pace. He has the puck a lot, too. He makes plays ... and plays in all situations. He’s exactly what you would want in a top player.”