Weird, eh? Trust me, I know. But read me out.
In my defence, the Ottawa Senators' stank Hossa used to be afflicted with has worn off. He was last a Senator way back in 2004; a long time ago, when even the Maple Leafs were good. Five years later, I want Hossa to win the Stanley Cup. With the Detroit Red Wings. In Pittsburgh.
I never thought the day would come, but I respect Marian Hossa. I respect the decision he made last summer to sign with the the Detroit Red Wings. He made it for the right reason: to win the Stanley Cup. And in choosing Detroit over the Penguins, Hossa's one win from vindication.
Every hockey player is one game, one shift, and one injury away from having his career ended. Hossa left a ton of guaranteed money, and years, on the table to chase his dream.
Now don't get me wrong; Hossa got paid. He made just under $7.5 million this season. But he could have banked $9 million a year in Edmonton, or signed a multi-year deal with Pittsburgh estimated at about $50 million. And I can't help but admire that. For some reason, I don't want Hossa's decision to leave Pittsburgh and sign with Detroit to come back and haunt him.
Most of all, I appreciate Hossa's desire to win. If Mats Sundin truly wanted to win a Stanley Cup, he would have signed with the Red Wings last July (Detroit wanted him), or called Ken Holland mid-season and agreed to play for the league minimum. Instead, by signing with Vancouver, Sundin chose the route he took in Toronto: get paid, and play for a team with not the best shot, but a shot.
I believe Mats wanted it. Bad. Just not enough. Not as bad as Hossa wants it.
His Ottawa tenure a thing of the past, I'm hoping Hossa is high on Brian Burke's July 1 to-do list. Marian's a star; thirty-years-old, a proven 40-goal man, and only two seasons removed from a 100-point campaign with Atlanta. And, possibly as early as tonight, a Stanley Cup winner.
UPDATE: Read this post from James Mirtle. It's hard to win the Stanley Cup (understatement of the year). I'm not going to rip Hossa for giving himself the best shot to do so.