CHICAGO — Marian Hossa is either blessed, or cursed.
We’ll find out soon enough when the Chicago winger makes his third straight trip to the Stanley Cup final with his third different team.
Having lost in Game 7 with Detroit last year and Pittsburgh the year before that, Hossa is hoping (actually he’s long past the point of hoping and has moved on to agonizing) that this time he will finally close the deal.
“It’s a great feeling coming to the finals again, definitely,” said the 31-year-old ex-Ottawa Senator. “This time I want to finish in a much more positive way than the last two years. That’s my goal. It’s a huge accomplishment (winning the West), but we don’t want to stop here.”
It will help Chicago’s chances greatly if Hossa actually scores a goal or two in the final, a fact that’s not lost on a sniper searching far and wide for his trigger finger.
“I am frustrated, trust me,” said Hossa, who has two goals in 16 playoff games so far.
“It gets in a goal-scorer’s head. I’m getting chances, but the puck doesn’t want to go in. On the other hand, I try to do other stuff (defensively and away from the puck) harder than I used to. I try to be a plus for the team that way.”
Somebody asked him if this is why he signed with Chicago, because he knew they’d make it to the final. Not quite, was the answer.
“No, there is one more step.”
John Madden is another Hawk who’s back in the big dance — but he has a ring to show for his Cup final with New Jersey in 2003.
“It’s tough, it’s a long road, a long process,” he said. “It takes a lot of mental concentration, even moreso than physical, but it’s fun.”
His thoughts on Hossa?
“This is his third time in three years, so he’s due,” grinned Madden.
“Not everybody can say they’ve been to the Stanley Cup final three years in a row with three different teams. We’ll just help him along and make sure he’s ºtaken care of.”
Keith guts it out
Duncan Keith provided the classic hockey player moment in the deciding game.
The Blackhawks defenceman took a puck in the face in the second period, lost a mouthful of teeth, but was back a few minutes later to assist on the tying goal.
“Yeah, I told him it’s kind of a blessing in disguise because now he’s going to get some nice fake teeth,” joked head coach Joel Quenneville.
“He’s going to have a great smile in a couple weeks. That’s playoff hockey all over it. A guy takes one in the face, picking out his teeth in the locker room, comes back.
“He assisted on the Bolland goal, created the whole goal there by taking a big hit.”
And he was still barking out directions on the ice.
“He’s talking to us before the power play, mumbling what we were supposed to do,” said the coach.
“I don’t think anybody understood what he was talking about. But he’s one of our leaders. He’s wearing the letter. He’s had a great season up to this point. He’s only getting better.”