'Great' for Hossa

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

DETROIT -- It's come down to one game for Marian Hossa, who finds out tonight if he chose the right destination to fulfil his dream of winning a Stanley Cup.

Hossa turned down a five-year offer from the Penguins last summer to accept a one-year contract with the Wings -- where he thought he had the best chance to win a title.

Hossa said he won't have any regrets if he loses out on the Cup to the team with which he could have stayed.

He's just happy to be playing for a title in a Game 7.

"This is a great situation. Who would tell you before the season you'll be playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals? You would take it," said Hossa, the centre of media attention yesterday after the Wings' final practice before tonight's game.

"This is a great opportunity. I'm just trying to make the best of it."

But Hossa hasn't been his best in the final.

At times he has appeared to be pressing against his former team. The power forward is on top of his game when he's skating -- something that hasn't been the case every game.

"I'm getting chances, but sometimes it's about battling through the space and being in the right place at the right time," said Hossa, who has no goals and just three assists in the final.

"Sometimes you need to get a little bit of luck. I'm used to scoring. Maybe I'm trying to press a little bit. Right now, with the last game, I just have to relax."

That can be tough for a guy on the receiving end of daily prodding by the media over his decision to choose Detroit and getting booed just about every time he touched the puck in Pittsburgh.

That didn't happen as much in a 2-1 loss in Game 6 because Hossa wasn't a factor. His teammates can see he's not himself.

There is some sentiment in the Detroit dressing room that the players would like to get the job done for him.

"Hossa wants to be the guy. There's no doubt. And he's a world-class hockey player. He's a clutch hockey player, and he wants to be the difference. We know how bad he wants this," said veteran centre Kris Draper, who is looking for his fifth Cup ring with the Wings.

'HERE TO LISTEN'

"If Hossa needs to talk to anybody, we're here to listen. Anything that he needs, we're obviously going to do ... We need everyone to come out and have the game of their lives. And Hossa has the same goal as the rest of us.

"The one thing we talk about individually is: If we can be as good as we can, collectively as a team that makes us that much better. That's exactly what we expect from everybody. We know Hossa's going to come with everything that he has. He wants this just as bad as all of us, and he'll be ready to go, no doubt."

Coach Mike Babcock believes Hossa should enjoy the challenge and the moment.

"I don't think (he's) pressing. I think in their building, he hasn't been as good. I think he's way better at home for whatever reason. What an opportunity for him. This is why he came here. Here's an opportunity. You have Game 7," said Babcock.

"This is all about how you spend your whole life when you're a kid, at least in Canada, when you don't even have a net, you've got little snow piles on the street. You're dreaming of scoring the game-winning goal of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. Now you've got it. Play and have some fun."

Ideally, Hossa would like to score the winner tonight.

"That'd be nice, but winning is the most important thing."


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