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told, Hossa has been fort

  • March 25, 2020 10:57 PM EDT

    LAUTOKA, Fiji -- Fiji centre Nemani Nadolo scored a try among his 20 points as the hosts beat Tonga 45-17 on Saturday in its opening match of rugbys Pacific Nations Cup. Marquise Goodwin Super Bowl Jersey . Wingers Watisoni Votu and Sireli Bobo both scored two tries and backrower and captain Akapusi Qera scored another as Fiji piled on six tries to two in a comprehensive performance. Fiji opened the match at a rapid pace with a penalty to Nadolo, then tries to Votu and Nadolo, both converted, to lead 17-0 after only 14 minutes. Though the play of both sides was affected by handling errors, often the product of jarring tackles, Fiji managed to score at more than a point per minute. Tonga finally got onto the board with a penalty to Fangatapu Apikotoa in the 22nd minute and managed to find some defensive steel before Bobo added Fijis third try nine minutes from halftime. Votu scored his second in the 12th minute of the second half to give Fiji a commanding 31-3 lead and a blowout seemed likely until Viliami Fihaki came off the bench to score tries for Tonga in the 24th and 26th minutes of the second half. Both were converted by Latiume Fosita, cutting the deficit to 31-17. Fiji seemed in danger of letting its control of the match slip but it recovered its composure to finish with tries to Bobo and Qera in the 79th and 81st minutes. Nadolo supplemented his try with six conversions and a penalty. Fiji joined Japan as a first-round winner after Japans 34-25 win last weekend over Canada. Tonga drew 18-18 win Samoa in its opening match and the United States is due to host Japan later Saturday. ---------- Fiji 45 (Watisoni Votu 2, Sireli Bobo 2, Nemani Nadolo, Akapusi Qera tries; Nemani Nadolo 6 conversions, penalty), Tonga 17 (Viliami Fihaki 2 tries; Latiume Fosita 2 conversions; Fangatapu Apikotoa penalty). HT: 24-3. Kyle Juszczyk Super Bowl Jersey . And by all indications, the team is expected to select phenom Connor McDavid with their selection. The Buffalo Sabres, who were knocked down to the second overall pick after finishing with the worst regular season record, are expected to take the other generational player in Jack Eichel. C. J. Beathard Super Bowl Jersey . Team spokesman Donald Beauchamp said there was no new information on the 80-year-old Hall of Famers condition. The family has requested privacy.Marian Hossa is as close to a living legend as the Chicago Blackhawks have in their dressing room. Younger teammates are eager to call him special and revere him as a role model.It means Im older, Hossa said. Im just glad I can still play.Hossa can still play, and his consistency at both ends of the ice is a piece of what makes the Blackhawks perennial Stanley Cup contenders. Hes 35 now and this season passed the 1,100-game mark, but on a team led by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Hossa keeps things together as one of the NHLs best defensive forwards.He just flies on the backcheck. Theres a lot of guys that skate a lot faster going forward than they do coming back to their own end, and hes not that way, Kane said. Hes so good at stripping the puck. Hes also good in these one-on-one battles where more often than not youre going to see him coming away with the puck.He doesnt seem to get any older, either. He seems to get better and better each year.This is Hossas 16th full NHL season and he remains a key cog for the Blackhawks, who have won the Cup twice in the past five years and visit the Washington Capitals on Thursday in the Winter Classic. Hossa is averaging 0.65 points a game, the lowest since his rookie year with the Ottawa Senators, but his two-way game is responsible for preventing more than a few goals against.Teammates past and present marvel at what Hossa can do in the defensive zone and without the puck.Hes got that powerful stride that gets him back in the play easily, said former Blackhawks forward Jeremy Morin, whos now with the Columbus Blue Jackets. And he can take the puck off your stick with ease. Hes so strong on the stick and its always in the right position. He can steal pucks with the best in the league, for sure.That, Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad said, is how Hossa turns defence into offence. In 1,127 games, Hossa has 472 goals and 547 assists.Hossa is 76th on the all-time points list, ahead of Hockey Hall of Famers Pat LaFontaine, Lanny McDonald and Maurice Richard. Hes 52nd in goals, ahead of LaFontaine, Doug Gilmour and Pavel Bure, and third among active players.His career numbers are similar too former Senators teammate Daniel Alfredsson, who retired earlier this month after putting up 426 goals and 682 assists in 1,178 games. Ahkello Witherspoon Super Bowl Jersey. But Hossa may be one of the most underrated players in the NHL now and as a result is considered a borderline Hall of Famer at best.Maybe I would have more numbers but maybe some other teams wouldnt want me, Hossa said. Theres an advantage and disadvantage with that. Obviously Im happy how the outcome played out.Hossa has two Stanley Cup rings and appeared in the final two other times. A five-time all-star, the Slovak winger with four Olympic appearances has a case, even if its not easy to quantify.I know (from) being around him and still dominating like he does, I think its his 17th year, hes always been a great player, Saad said. Im not sure exactly the reason, but theres so many little things the guy does, its incredible.Hossa still has six seasons left on his contract at a cap hit of US$5.275 million, so he likely has plenty of time before the Hall of Fame question even comes up. Judging from his assessment of 1,000 career points that he has been lucky, Hossa probably isnt all that worried about it.Truth be told, Hossa has been fortunate to avoid injuries throughout most of his career. The fewest games he played in a full season was 57 in 2009-10.Hossa gets some practices off because of his age and experience, but that doesnt seem to detract from his play. Coach Joel Quenneville calls him a great pro and a player who reinforces what the staff wants out of the team.Defensively and offensively hes got a great thought process, Quenneville said. Game in, game out, you use him in all situations. Hes a very useful player.Before joining Chicago, Hossa was more than just a useful player for the Senators, Atlanta Thrashers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings. Despite all that, its possible hes still under-appreciated.But not by the Blackhawks.We definitely know how special of a player he is, whether he gets the recognition or not, Saad said. Its pretty surreal to see a guy like that still playing and still doing as well as hes doing.---Follow @SWhyno on Twitter. ' ' '