Heatley, meet Hossa

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:00 AM ET

EDMONTON - CHICAGO — Their careers are inextricably linked, so it’s fitting that Dany Heatley and Marian Hossa have come face to face at a Stanley Cup crossroads.

Traded for each other in 2005, both snipers have come agonizingly close to a Cup, with Heatley losing in the 2007 final with Ottawa and Hossa losing in 2008 and 2009 with Pittsburgh and Detroit.

And here they are, face to face in the Western Conference final, each of their bellies burning for another chance at a championship.

“That’s always there, each time you get in the playoffs you realize how hard it is to get a chance to do it,” said Heatley, who watched the window close on a Cup contender in Ottawa and knows better than anyone not to take chances like this for granted.

“It’s not just making the playoffs but getting through each and every round is a tough journey and a tough battle. Every series is a bigger challenge and a bigger step.”

After Game 7 losses in each of the last two season — to Detroit while he was in Pittsburgh, and to Pittsburgh after he moved to Detroit — Hossa is hoping that the third team is a charm.

“I try not to think too far ahead and I don’t think about what happened in past years,” he said. “This is a new year, that’s what my focus is on. We have a huge step ahead of us.”

The two have something else in common this spring: They can’t score.

Heatley has just two goals in 12 games, Hossa two in 14.

“I want to do better than two goals, it’s in my mind for sure,” said Hossa, who hit the post and stepped offside with the net empty in Game 2. “If I had the answer I would answer it. One big thing is finishing the shots is not there like I’d like it to be, it’s not going in for me.

“I’ve been there before, hopefully I can find it sooner rather than later. I have to bear down on the shots better than I have done.”

It looks worse on Heatley’s side because the Sharks are down 2-0 in the series.

“The stat isn’t a real encouraging one,” said Heatley’s coach Todd McClellan. “I think we all have to find a way to get one more past Niemi and not leave it on Dany Heatley’s shoulders. But he does have to find a way to put the puck in the net, especially on the powerplay. That’s what he’s here for. That’s what we believe he can do. I believe he will get that done as the series goes on.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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