"We talked it over just a little bit this morning," said Toews on the ice at Wachovia Center moments after Patrick Kane's overtime, title-winning goal to give Chicago a 4-3 victory and its first Stanley Cup since 1961. "After everything he's been through the last few years, coming so close, he deserved it. This Cup is amazing for all of us, but especially for Hossa."
The 31-year-old Hossa said before the Final that he was convinced "the third time was the charm," and he was right. In 2008 he was a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins when they lost in the Stanley Cup Final to the Detroit Red Wings. That summer, he left Pittsburgh to sign a one-year contract in Detroit, only to be on the losing end for the second straight Final. Looking for stability with another contender, Hossa signed a 12-year deal with the Blackhawks.
For Hossa, one out of three is just grand.
"This is the greatest feeling in the world for a hockey player," Hossa said in the midst of a mob on the ice after he raised the Stanley Cup. "It's even more incredible than I imagined. I'm just so proud to be part of this team and, yes, I can say now that I'm very relieved and very happy to get the Cup this time."
The three-time 40-goal scorer could have been on the wrong side of history. With four minutes left in regulation, he was the victim of a bad bounce that hit his skate and landed on the stick of Scott Hartnell, who tied the game at 3-3.
"It was a disappointing moment," said Hossa. "But we knew it was 3-3 and there was lots of hockey left. We could have put our heads down, but that has never been the way this team does things."
Hossa's plight for the Cup was not a tearjerker, or a team rallying cry like many in the NHL's past. But it has been clear since the start of this postseason that the native of Slovakia is a highly-respected figure in the room. If that wasn't clear enough, it was when Toews passed him the Stanley Cup first.
"Marian was a monster for us for most of the playoffs," said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville. "Even when he wasn't scoring, I mentioned a lot that he was doing all the important things for us. On a personal level, it was really gratifying to see him with the Stanley Cup tonight. He's an outstanding hockey player and a winner. He deserves this."
"I'm sure everybody is celebrating back home," said Hossa. "There's going to be a huge party."