As the Atlanta Thrashers head into the All-Star Break in first place in the Southeast Division, they do so on the strength of high-powered right wing Marian Hossa. In his second-year in Atlanta, Hossa, who turned 28 on Jan. 12, has become everything the Thrashers hoped he would when they acquired him from Ottawa on Aug. 23, 2005 with defenseman Greg de Vries for left wing Dany Heatley.
He’s the Thrashers’ leader in points (63), goals (30), assists (33), power play goals (15), and shorthanded goals (2), is tied for the league lead in goals, and is in the top 10 in the NHL in power play goals, points, power play points (30) and home points (37).
He has also made an impact off the ice, starting Hossa’s Heroes, which has already hosted events for children to the Georgia Aquarium and at games at Philips Arena.
Fittingly, Hossa will be Atlanta’s on-ice representative Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center in Dallas at the 55th Annual NHL All-Star Game. He recently talked to Atlantathrashers.com about going back to the All-Star Game for the third time as a player — he played in (2001 and 2003) and was chosen a third time (2004) but did not play because of injury — what he remembers about his first one, and what his feelings are about goaltenders as a high-scoring player in a low-defense game.
1. Being chosen an All-Star is not new for you, but is it still exciting to be going to the All-Star Game?
HOSSA: Definitely. It’s an honor to be there and I’m looking forward to representing my team. It’s been a while [since playing in an All-Star Game]. With the lockout and the Olympics last year so I haven’t been in it for a couple of years, the year before that I missed it because of injury. So I’ll just try to have fun when I go this year.
2. What do you remember about your first one?
HOSSA: I think the first one is the most special because it’s the first time playing between the stars, you see all the superstars in one room. Just to be around it is an unbelievable feeling. I have different memories about that. It’s a big show. I was definitely nervous. I think everybody who is a first-timer gets a little nervous. But now, I’ve been there a couple times, so I just try to be relaxed and enjoy every little time of it.
3. Is there anyone you look forward to playing with this Wednesday?
HOSSA: There are so many great players. So it doesn’t matter who is on the line with you.
4. What are your thoughts about having Bob Hartley behind the bench?
HOSSA: I’m sure Bob is going to have lots of fun and try to enjoy every bit of it.
5. Knowing how the lack of defense often played in these games Do you have any sympathy for goalies?
HOSSA: Well, they are the best goalies. (laughs)
BONUS: Aside from the All-Star Game itself, what are you looking forward to the most in Dallas?
HOSSA: "I'm going to see lots of friends- maybe some guys from Slovakia (Zdeno Chara and Martin Havlat) and the Czech Republic (Lubomir Visnovsky) who I haven't seen very much during the season, so I'm looking forward to that. I just want to enjoy the show- it's a big show and it should be lots of fun."