|The last time Marian Hossa suited up in his home town was in September of 2001 when he played three games while waiting to get a new deal he eventually signed with the Ottawa Senators. (Bruce Bennett Studios)
Marian Hossa is making the best of a bad situation.
While a lot of the Senators are searching for ice as the NHL lockout continues, the all-star winger has taken a step back in time.
There are no charter flights with first-class seats and shrimp trays. Not in his hometown of Trencin, Slovakia where's he's playing alongside the likes of St. Louis Blues winger Pavol Demitra and Minnesota Wild star Marian Gaborik.
Trencin travels on the "Iron Lung" with the longest trip about four hours.
"We were kind of laughing in the dressing room the other day about guys who complain about travel in the NHL," Hossa told the Sun yesterday.
"We play three times a week and we bus everywhere. We bus to the game and then we bus back afterwards. The schedule here is tougher."
Hossa, whose NHL salary would have been $3.45 million (all terms US) this season, could have gone to Russia or Switzerland and made big bucks, but he decided he'd like to spend time close to his family.
"This has been fun," said Hossa. "This isn't about playing for the money. This is about getting a chance to play in your home town in front of your friends and family. You don't know when you're going to do it very often. So, it's nice to have this.
"We'd like to be playing in North American right now, but that's not happening and this is something different. You don't know if you're going to get this chance again."
The last time Hossa suited up in his home town was in September of 2001 when he played three games while waiting to get the four-year deal he eventually signed with the Senators.
After playing for Slovakia during last month's World Cup, Hossa went to Ottawa before returning home. He wanted a chance to play with Jason Spezza this year, but Demitra and Gaborik aren't bad either.
"I spend a lot of time on the ice with Demitra. He's such a skilled player," said Hossa, who has six goals and five assists in seven games.
"Gaborik isn't with us all the time, but we play on all the power plays together and if we need a goal in the final minute, we're out there trying to get it."
SPOKE TO ALFIE
He spoke with Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson a couple of days ago to get an update on the lockout and find out how his brother Marcel Hossa is doing in Sweden.
"Alfie told me he thought it was me when he first saw my brother play," said Hossa. "He was wearing the same number, we look the same and we kind of skate the same way."
If a new CBA gets settled, Hossa will leave the bus behind and return immediately to Ottawa.
"We know why this is happening and we understand it. We're just going to have to wait," said Hossa.
"Of course, we want to be playing hockey in the NHL because that's the best league in the world. We can't do that right now.
"Obviously, the hockey is different here. The people here are having fun with seeing NHL players in the lineup. We'll see what happens. Hopefully, it won't last all year."