Master plan backfires for Wings' Hossa
The only thing Marian Hossa would like to change is the final result of Game 7.
After watching his former teammates celebrate with the Stanley Cup on Friday night, Hossa wasn't feeling any regret about his decision to sign with the Detroit Red Wings last summer. He bolted Pittsburgh to win a championship in Motown but is going to have to wait at least one more year to achieve that goal.
"Regret? I don't regret it," Hossa said after a 2-1 loss to the Penguins in Game 7. "It could be different circumstances if I sign in Pittsburgh, they probably couldn't sign some other players and they'd be a different team.
"We could sit here for hours discussing this, but it would be a different team and it could be different things."
Hossa looked like a different player during this Stanley Cup.
The talented winger didn't even score a goal during the final and admitted that the pressure of playing the Penguins got to him. He was asked about it repeatedly over the past couple weeks.
"Whether you like it or not, there's lots of pressure," said Hossa. "You learn when the pressure is on and you learn how to handle it. It's squeezing you. It's a pretty tough one, I tried to battle hard but I couldn't get anything done offensively."
He had been one of the rallying points for a Red Wings team that has done a lot of winning in recent years. Forward Kirk Maltby, a four-time Stanley Cup champion, said he felt bad that they couldn't get another for Hossa.
After going up 2-0 in this series, the Red Wings lost four of five games to the upstart Penguins. The offence went particularly dry in Games 6 and 7, when they scored just two goals combined on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
"It's not from a lack of effort," said Maltby. "They block a lot of shots, they clog it up."
Even though there wasn't any excuses being made in the Red Wings dressing room, it's hard to ignore the fact that a little luck wasn't on their side. They had to play without Hart Trophy finalist Pavel Datsyuk and star defencemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski for stretches during these playoffs.
On top of that, fatigue might have caught up to them in the final.
"I thought we looked out of gas pretty much all series," said coach Mike Babcock. "I thought we competed, and I thought we tried. But I never thought we got to the level we'd have liked to."
They'll spend plenty of time going over what went wrong.
A year ago, the Red Wings celebrated a championship win over Hossa's Penguins on the road at Mellon Arena. As the Detroit players came out for interviews in their dressing room at Joe Louis Arena on Friday, the Penguins could clearly be heard partying it up on their ice.
It was a strange feeling for a franchise that had won four straight Stanley Cup since last losing one in 1995.
"You learn from this too," said Henrik Zetterberg, one of many Wings who shaved his playoff beard before speaking to the media. "We had our win last year — now we're on the other side. It's going to make us stronger.
"We've got a great group of guys here, everybody's going to build and learn from this."
Hossa is an unrestricted free agent again this summer and hopes to remain in Detroit. Even though the season ended with disappointment, it was one of the best of his career.
"I still had a great year in this organization," said Hossa. "Great guys, great people around. It could go both ways, just one goal makes a difference. You score one more and you celebrate.
"Sometimes that life and you just have to move on. It's a great life experience."