For the second year in a row, Marian Hossa stood on the ice as a Stanley Cup loser.
At this time last year, Hossa sat and watched as the Detroit Red Wings celebrated their Stanley cup victory on the Pittsburgh Penguins' home ice at Mellon Arena. Hossa, set to become a free agent, decided if you can't beat them, join them, turning down a seven-year, $49 million contract with the Penguins for a one-year, $7.45 million contract.
“I wanted the best chance to win the Stanley Cup and I feel like Detroit is the team,” Hossa said after signing his contract. “I know I could get more money somewhere else [Pittsburgh, Edmonton], but the thing that I was looking for for myself was to win the Stanley Cup".
Hossa again was quoted saying "...but I know I made the right decision. I truly believe that I made the right decision.”
Wrong, Mr. Hossa! Obviously Hossa did not make the right choice, as he watched the Penguins, whom he spurned in free agency, win Lord Stanley’s Cup on the road in Game Seven without the help of Hossa.
The Penguins paid a hefty price for Hossa, who played a total of 32 games for Pittsburgh, at the 2008 trade deadline by trading fan favorite Colby Armstrong, Erik Christenson, super-prospect Angelo Esposito, and a first-round draft pick.
The loss of Hossa not only hurt the Penguins organization, but the fans of Pittsburgh were utterly disappointed and upset. The Pens thought they finally had a dynamic scoring threat aside superstar Sid the Kid, which meant more Stanley Cup appearances to come, only to see Hossa do the unthinkable and join the opposing forces.
The 2008-09 Penguins didn't look like the Stanley Cup runner-ups, sliding into 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings while Marian Hossa and the Red Wings were sitting pretty in second place of the Western Conference.
The Pens fired head coach Michel Therrien and replaced him with Dan Bylsma, who led the Pens to a 34-11-4 record (including the playoffs). While the Pens caught fire and skyrocketed in the standings and into the playoffs, thoughts of a rematch became more of a possibility.
Both the Red Wings and Penguins faced adversity and Game Seven scares in the playoffs, but ultimately the Penguins and Red Wings would face off again with Hossa sporting a red and white No. 81 jersey instead of a black and gold No. 18 jersey this time.
As the Red Wings and Penguins battled for seven games, Marian Hossa pulled a Houdini disappearing act, posturing a 'monstrous' three assists during the Stanley Cup Finals as he was booed, in Pittsburgh, and hit hard every time he touched the puck. As the final siren went off, Hossa again watched the opposition celebrate their Stanley Cup victory.
Was it karma or just tough luck for Hossa? He pulled a fast one on the Penguins, who believed they had the dynamic first-line scorer they had been missing, and it bit him right in the behind.
Although the Red Wings look like they will re-sign Hossa and will make another Stanley Cup appearance down the road, the city and fans of the Pittsburgh Penguins thank the Red Wings for bringing The Curse to Detroit and Lord Stanley's Cup to the deserving Pittsburgh Penguins.