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Hats Off to Hossa

Posted 3:46 PM ET | Comments 9
I am as disappointed as any Pens fan and season ticket holder about the loss of Marian Hossa.

You can also probably guess, judging from my name and picture, I am not the biggest Red Wings fan.

Nonetheless, Marian Hossa did something yesterday that is seldom, if ever, seen in professional sports.

At the end of the season, Hossa said that he would take less money to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Though the Penguins are reported to feel "slapped in the face," the unfortunate truth for every Pens fan and/or Red Wing hater out there is that Hossa stuck to his word.

The Penguins are not yet close to the team that the Red Wings are.

Hossa would know this as well as anybody, having just finished chasing them up and down the ice for six games.

The Pens should be commended for their efforts in the finals, but it was evident from the play through the majority of each and every game that the Wings were the better team. Better passing, better shooting, better skating, better backchecking, better on special teams, better everything except the goaltender.

The Big Hoss said he wanted to take the best chance at a cup he could find. That is exactly what he got.

The Pens were unquestionably the 2nd best team in the league, but they were more than a couple inches away from being the best.

Hossa could have left for city, coaching, atmosphere, money or any combination of his liking. Instead he stuck to his word and, in doing so, walked away from at least $60 million he could have had in Edmonton.

Like his decision in teams or not, in an age where every athlete in every sport drops the nauseating cliches one after another about wanting to win, I have never heard of a player walking away from so much coin to do so.

So, though I will never, ever cheer for his team, Hossa has earned my sincere respect.
Filed Under:   Hossa   Penguins   Red Wings   Pittsburgh   Detroit  
July 3, 2008 9:35 PM ET | Delete
Great commentary, except for this: "better everything except the goaltender."Ozzie ended up with the best GAA for both the regular season and the playoffs. Recall he also had two shutouts against the Pens, and I believe he won the Stanley Cup...for the third time.
July 3, 2008 10:50 PM ET | Delete
Well said, for an Avs fan, lol. Still, you just don't see a pro athlete take less money because he'd rather win a championship. And in the last couple of days, I find it surprising at how many fans and even a couple of the media criticize Hossa for doing just that. Alot of jocks get raked over the coals for being greedy and just going for the big bucks. Now, when a guy spurns huge offers for more money and multi year terms to win a Cup, they do an about face. One media writer, who's name escapes me, even said Hossa took the easy way out. That he chose a team he could step right into and win. The same guy then said how Brian Campbell decided to go to a team where he would work hard to make Chicago a winner again and collect big money. If Campbell wanted to help Chicago win, he to could've gone for a lower paycheck or less years. Campbell just wants to play hockey, get paid handsomely, hopefully help the Hawks get better. And that's all Hossa wants to do, help make the Wings better and to win another Cup.
July 3, 2008 11:08 PM ET | Delete
his goal is to win a cup, then cash in next year.... why else sign a one year deal, its not like hes playing for free
July 4, 2008 3:18 AM ET | Delete
Hats Off for not working for a championship and tagging along for the ride.....umm no.
July 4, 2008 3:53 AM ET | Delete
Hats Off for not working for a championship and tagging along for the ride.....umm no.
July 4, 2008 11:00 AM ET | Delete
Thanks for the comments, Anne. The point I was trying to make was less about Ozzy's season or stats and more about his play in that series. He was solid- no question about that, but Fleury was standing on his head at the other end of the ice- he had to just to keep the Pens around for most of the games. You make a good point about the shutouts, but the shutouts were as much a result of the Wings system locking down the Penguins. Ozzy was as good as he needed to be, Fluery was outstanding enough to keep an over matched team around for 6 games.
July 4, 2008 11:07 AM ET | Delete
Wingsfan, you're exactly right. Hossa took less money and securing his family financially for about he next 25 generations for a chance to win. I still can't process walking away from $60. Some dudes nowadays stand tall and say they've done the same thing, but I've NEVER heard of somebody walking away from 5 million bones, much less 60. Uh, Force- not playing for free, but risking losing out on the $53 million you could have had should you get hurt or have a bad year is still honorable to me. Thanks for the comments everybody.
July 4, 2008 2:37 PM ET | Delete
I am happy he did not run for "money" only. i am obviously disappointed he did not stay here. I do not think the difference between the Pens and Red Wings is a big as everybody thinks. Remember how dominant the Ducks looked winning the cup two years ago? Granted, they had some personnel changes, but each season brings it's own "cup run" and the swagger and confidence you have one year can easily be gone the next. The Wings are certainly EVEN BETTER now that Hossa is there...but repeat champs in the NHL are not very common anymore. I believe Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Fleury will become even better players...they are all still a few years away from their primes. I think there is a cup in this teams future and it won't be that long before we have it.
July 5, 2008 8:26 PM ET | Delete
I don't agree that the Pens were the next best team in the league. They got lucky because they are in the weaker East. If they had been in the West, they would have been eliminate in the first round.
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