Former penguins Marian Hossa, Jarome Iginla selected for the Hockey Hall of Fame

Marian Hossa had two hockey idols who grew up in the Slovak part of Czechoslovakia in the 1980s and early 1990s.

He played for one of them.

“One of my two favorite players was Mario Lemieux,” said Hossa. “And Wayne Gretzky”

Hossa and former penguin striker Jarome Iginla will join Lemieux, now the team’s owner, in the Hockey Hall of Fame. They were selected for induction on Wednesday.

“I never thought I was going to have an amazing career,” Hossa said in a conference call. “This is definitely something special. It means a lot to me. I am humble. “

Her class will include longtime NHL general manager Ken Holland, former NHL defenders Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson, as well as Kim St-Pierre, a former star goalkeeper for the Canadian national women’s team.

Hossa and Iginla were members of the penguins for short periods. Both were acquired on exchange terms as “rental” players and disappeared in the offseason that followed.

But each of them had a memorable tenure as a member of the Penguins, particularly because each was intended to be a complementary endorsement of the Sidney Crosby franchise center.

Hossa arrived in Pittsburgh in a successful deal with the Atlanta Thrashers by the 2008 deadline. An injury limited him to 12 regular-season games and 10 points (three goals, seven assists). In the postseason, he appeared in 20 games and erupted by 26 points, including the team’s 12 leading goals.

After helping the penguins advance to the Stanley Cup final, where they lost to the Detroit Red Wings, Hossa went from being a hero to a public enemy in Pittsburgh after rejecting GM Ray Shero’s long-term contract offer. and join the Red Wings in a year deal.

“When I got the call that I was moved from Thrashers to the Pittsburgh Penguins, I opened my eyes,” Hossa said. “I saw the opportunity to play in a great organization and with great players like Sid, who we became friends with in the short time I was there. And guys like (Evgeni) Malkin and (Kris) Letang and (Marc-Andre) Fleury. An incredible career. We ended up a bit short. Obviously, the rest is history and the boys did very well afterwards.

“A great organization, great fans. A first class organization in general. Good memories.”

Iginla came to the Penguins with similar intentions that were based on her success as Crosby’s linemate for Canada at the 2010 Olympics. But those hopes never came true.

Acquired from Calgary Flames in another successful swap by the 2013 deadline, Iginla’s first game with the Penguins saw Crosby suffer a broken jaw. As a result, Iginla was used primarily in one line, and occasionally as far left, with Malkin.

In 13 regular season games with the Penguins, Iginla collected 11 points (five goals, six assists).

When the penguins were swept away in the Eastern Conference final by the Boston Bruins, Iginla found herself on the third line with people like Beau Bennett and Brandon Sutter.

As unappetizing as his stay with penguins was, Iginla professed her enjoyment.

“A great experience,” said Iginla. “The fans are very, very passionate about their hockey there. … Unfortunately, we lost to Boston in the conference final. But having the opportunity to play with Crosby and Malkin and Letang and Fleury and (Brooks) Orpik, they had a great, great group of leadership. Very talented. A very humble group of guys who work very, very hard. You can see why they have been a dominant team and won. I wish we had won. It was tough (losing to Boston) but it was still an incredible experience.

Seth Rorabaugh is a writer for the Tribune-Review. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or by Twitter.

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