Marian Hossa is hungry to win a Stanley Cup in his third finals series in three years with three teams
Monday, May 31, 2010
CHICAGO -- When Marian Hossa stepped on the ice Saturday, he became the first player to appear in three consecutive Stanley Cup finals with three different teams.
The Blackhawks winger then spent the rest of the night trying to make sure history won't repeat itself this spring.
After runner-up finishes with Pittsburgh in 2008 and Detroit in 2009, Hossa was perhaps Chicago's best player in its 6-5 victory in Game 1 at United Center.
He set up two goals, recorded a pair of takeaways, helped anchor a penalty-kill unit that bailed out the penalty-prone Blackhawks in the first period, and in general proved to be a menace for the Flyers' defensemen.
"We feel he was probably the best player on the ice," linemate Troy Brouwer said Sunday, an off day for Chicago. "He was playing like a man possessed. He's very determined. Obviously, he's been here two times before and failed. He doesn't want to have that feeling for a third time."
Hossa's forgettable history on hockey's grandest stage is the reason he is so determined.
Two seasons ago, Hossa was acquired at the trade deadline by the Penguins in the hopes he would be the missing ingredient. He finished with three goals and four assists, including one of each in Game 6 against Detroit. But Pittsburgh lost the game, 3-2, and the series, four games to two.
That offseason, Hossa spurned the security of a lucrative seven-year contract offer from Edmonton and signed a one-year deal in Detroit, hoping for a second shot at the Cup. He scored 40 times in the regular season and the Red Wings advanced to the finals. But Hossa struggled in the championship round, notching only three assists, none in a 2-1 Game 7 loss to the Penguins, his former team.
For the second time in 13 months, Hossa found himself in the same arena as the Cup. Twice, he left without touching it.
"This time," said Hossa, who signed a 12-year, $62.8 million contract with the Blackhawks in July, "I definitely want to touch it."
With three more wins, he can end his painful personal drought as well as a nearly 50-year drought for the city of Chicago.
"There's a few different things you learn" from losing, Hossa said earlier this week. "It really helps."