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All-Star selection nice birthday gift for Marian Hossa

Marian Hosswho turned 33 Thursday was selected play his fifth All-Star Game. ‘‘It’s always an honor be picked among top

Marian Hossa, who turned 33 on Thursday, was selected to play in his fifth All-Star Game. ‘‘It’s always an honor to be picked among the top players,’’ he said. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 14, 2012 10:28AM

It wasn’t a goal he set for himself, but Marian Hossa got quite the birthday gift when he was named to his fifth All-Star team Thursday.

‘‘It’s always an honor to be picked among the top players,’’ said Hossa, who turned 33. ‘‘I never thought about it before the season. But when things are going the right way and the team is winning, you’re helping the team and the points are coming and you’re staying healthy, you’ve got a good shot to make it.’’

It’s Hossa’s first All-Star nod since 2008 and his first as a member of the Hawks.

‘‘To still have that motivation that he has to be one of the best in the world is really something,’’ teammate Jonathan Toews said of Hossa. ‘‘It is something to look up to, and hopefully he has a good game.’’

Hossa has earned the recognition this season despite playing with three centers: Toews, Patrick Kane and now Dave Bolland. Playing with Bolland, a right-handed shot, has been the biggest

‘‘When I’ve got somebody new in the center, I try to look at him and what type of player [he is], and I try to read a little bit of his game,’’ Hossa said. ‘‘[With Bolland], instead of just staying on my side, I try to criss-cross with him and talk with him.’’

After the morning skate, Hossa said he hadn’t been the butt of any birthday pranks. But he wasn’t ruling out the possibility of a hazing later in the day.

‘‘You never know in this dressing room,’’ Hossa said. ‘‘It can be coming from any side, so you have to be prepared for anything.’’

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