Hossa hopes third time is charm

Updated: May 26, 2010, 12:25 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Marian Hossa is headed back to the Stanley Cup finals for the third year in a row with his third different team, and as the Chicago Blackhawks winger was sitting in the winning dressing room Sunday, he was trying to think of the popular expression.

"The third time is ..." Hossa started, before someone chipped in with, "the charm."

After falling short with the Detroit Red Wings last season and the Pittsburgh Penguins the year before, Hossa is hoping to break his string of finishing second.

The Hawks completed a four-game sweep of the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference finals on Sunday with a 4-2 win.

"It's a great feeling coming to the finals again, definitely," Hossa said. "But this time I want to finish better, and that's my goal.

"It's a huge accomplishment, but we don't want to stop here. We want to take the next step."

Hossa signed a 12-year, $62.8 million contract last summer, and then he underwent shoulder surgery and missed the first two months of the regular season. He had 24 goals and 27 assists in 57 games, but he's had just two goals and nine assists in 16 postseason games this year.

"I am frustrated, trust me," Hossa said. "Definitely.

"I'm getting close chances, but for whatever reason the puck doesn't want to jump in. On the other hand, I try to kill penalties and try to do other things. I'm hoping one lucky one will go in and go from there."

Hossa narrowly missed a goal Sunday, and coach Joel Quenneville was quick to point out the intangibles Hossa provides.

"He's had some good chances in the last three games," Quenneville said. "He's a threat.

"His speed certainly backs people off. I just think defensively you can't ask for him to do anything more. His back-side pressure, his stick, his strength with the puck. They have to be aware of him on the ice because he creates a lot, and he's dangerous."

Hossa, who starred for Slovakia in the Olympics, also has maintained the respect of his teammates.

"It's his third time for the Stanley Cup, three times in a row, so he's due," said John Madden, who won two Cups with the New Jersey Devils. "Third time is the charm.

"Not everybody can say they've been to the Stanley Cup finals three years in a row with three different teams. Pretty remarkable, and it says something about him. We'll just help him, and we'll make sure he's taken care of."

Madden isn't worried about Hossa's lack of goal scoring.

"I don't come to this dressing room thinking 'Hossa's not scoring, we're not winning,'" Madden said. "We're a team.

"I haven't scored, but I'm still out there helping the hockey club. He's blocking shots, making hits, making things happen. He's not hurting us by any stretch of the imagination. He's solid. Every time he's on the ice he makes stuff happen. It's going to come and it's going to come at the right time."

Hossa is optimistic.

"I totally believe so," Hossa said. "This team has something special."

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