Marian Hossa’s teammates knew about his skin disorder in recent seasons. They knew that it was painful and ugly, that it was the reason behind the extra days off and the extra time preparing for a game. And some of them even knew it eventually might end his career.
‘‘It’s not like this happened overnight,’’ captain Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘A lot of the guys that were aware of his situation all kind of knew that that decision would have to be made.’’
But that didn’t make Hossa’s decision to sit out the 2017-18 season — and probably the rest of his career — any easier to handle.
‘‘It’s too soon,’’ Toews said. ‘‘You saw what he was doing out there on the ice. It doesn’t say much, but in my opinion he was by far the best player in the playoff series against Nashville. 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, probably. It’s tough to see.’’
Several players talked about the positive impact Hossa had on their careers. Toews said Hossa taught him to be positive and not to get so down on himself. Brandon Saad said Hossa was a player after whom he modeled himself. Patrick Kane called him ‘‘a great human being, a great player.’’ And Patrick Sharp called Hossa the model of professionalism.
‘‘He became a good friend over the years,’’ Sharp said. ‘‘We both had weddings and kids. He has two daughters, and I do. . . . He’s going to be missed, definitely, on the ice in Chicago. But for guys like me, he’s going to be missed in the locker room, as well.’’
As for the business side of Hossa’s absence, the Hawks will wait until after the season starts to put him on long-term injured reserve, so they can maximize their salary-cap flexibility. It might allow them to make a big signing or trade early in the season because they’re pretty much closed for business now.
‘‘What personnel moves we’ll make [will] probably be dictated by where we’re at when we get to October, how the team is playing, what areas are strong, what areas we want to try to add to,’’ general manager Stan Bowman said. ‘‘I wouldn’t say we have an exact plan that we’re just going to execute.’’
Like Kane, center Artem Anisimov said he was blindsided by the trade that sent Artemi Panarin to the Blue Jackets.
‘‘I was shocked, actually,’’ Anisimov said. ‘‘It’s hard to see my close friend going to my old team. But on the ice, when we play each other, I’m going to try to hit him and do whatever it takes to win the game.’’
Free-agent signee Tommy Wingels suffered a fractured left foot during offseason workouts and will miss six to eight weeks of training. Bowman said Wingels is expected to be 100 percent in time for camp.
‘‘We don’t anticipate any long-term issues,’’ team doctor Michael Terry said.
Follow me on Twitter @MarkLazerus.