For the third consecutive season, Chicago Blackhawks right winger Marian Hossa has found himself in the Stanley Cup Final. However, Hossa is still trying to forget the last two trips he made to claim hockey’s Holy Grail.
Hossa played a pivotal role in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ impressive playoff run during the 2007-08 season.
By trading for Hossa on Feb. 26, 2008, the Pens sent a message that they were ready for a trip to the finals, and all of the hardships along the way.
Hossa, who was 29 at the time, led the young Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final only to lose to the Detroit Red Wings in six games. By no means did Hossa have a bad series—three goals and seven points in six games—but he skated away without the Stanley Cup nonetheless.
The following season, Hossa signed a one-year contract with the same Red Wings who had defeated him in the finals less than a month earlier. According to reports, Hossa turned down a lengthy contract extension with Pittsburgh because he felt Detroit had a better chance of winning the Cup.
It couldn’t have played out any worse for the native of Slovakia.
Hossa and the Red Wings went on to lose the Penguins in seven games. The four-time All-Star was held goalless and had just three assists against his former team, and once again he skated away without hockey’s most coveted possession.
The 2009-10 season has put Hossa in a very familiar situation.
On July 1, 2009, Hossa signed a 12-year contract with the Blackhawks—a team, like the Red Wings, who he felt had the best chance to win the Stanley Cup.
This year’s playoffs have an eerily similar feeling to Hossa’s last two postseasons, but the 31-year-old has a different perspective on things this time around.
“It’s a great feeling coming to the finals again,” Hossa told the Sporting News on Tuesday. “Definitely, I’m hoping, like everyone is saying, third time is a charm.”
If Hossa has proven anything over the course of the last two seasons, it’s that nobody can predict a winner.
The Hawks are the favorite heading into the finals. With better offense, defense, and goaltending than Hossa’s two prior Cup teams, this finally might be the year that the 31-year-old gets to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup—or perhaps the Hossa curse will continue.