Persistent Hossa has his day
A grinning Jonathan Toews hoisted the Stanley Cup over his head, celebrated for a moment, and then immediately looked for the guy he figured would appreciate it most.
"Where's Hosse?" the Chicago Blackhawks captain asked before handing the coveted trophy to teammate Marion Hossa, who lifted and bench-pressed Lord Stanley, throwing his head back with joy.
Three years. Three trips to the Stanley Cup finals. And finally, Hossa has won the Cup.
"I'm so happy I finally did it," a beaming Hossa said after Chicago's 4-3 overtime victory in Game 6 on Wednesday. "We couldn't just put our heads down. We had to work, and we knew we could do it."
Predators goalie Dan Ellis tweets on Hossa
"Congratulations Chicago! Congrats Hossa! I would not have wanted to see Hossa miss another chance at winning the cup! Great series!!!"
The 31-year-old right-winger was on the other end of the Stanley Cup celebration last year with the Detroit Red Wings, and the season before with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The irony was Hossa's Red Wings lost in 2009 to the Penguins, the team he left a year earlier for a better shot at the Stanley Cup.
Those results — losing in the final two years in a row — earned him a reputation for having a kind of curse. A Hossa hex. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. But no longer.
"It is quite a relief," Hossa told CBC Sports during the on-ice celebration at a deflated Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. "After two years and not winning and finally third time, you know, winning the Stanley Cup. I am so happy."
Toews told Hossa during the morning skate that he'd be the first guy to get the Cup after the captain accepted it, if and when it happened.
"What a gentleman move. He knew what I went through," Hossa said. "This is my best hockey moment."
"It's special for him," Toews said. "I can't imagine being part of three long seasons like that and to finally win one. It's amazing for all of us."
Earlier in the playoffs, Hossa, who had three points and 12 assists in the post-season, said he had no words of wisdom or guidance for a young Blackhawks team looking to end a 49-year Stanley Cup drought.
"Well I knew we were going in the right direction, we had a lot of good things going. And you know, I don't like to speak, I like to do everything on the ice. And when the reporter asked if I said something to the young guys, I said, 'Well there is nothing that needs to be said. I just want to be quiet and just keep working on the ice.'"
The hard work finally paid off.
With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press