Marian Hossa wants to take a sip from the Stanley Cup very badly.
Two summers ago, he left the Pittsburgh Penguins for a one-year contract in the Motor City because he thought the defending champion Detroit Red Wings were his best shot at hoisting the trophy.
It turned out that Hossa was a year too late on that decision. Now with the Chicago Blackhawks, Hossa has that chance again.
"I can tell you it was tough," Hossa said of last year's loss to his former team in the Cup final. "You were there for three to four months and then you played those guys in the final and it wasn't easy. We lost by one goal in a tight game and it was really tough."
Hossa has played for five teams in the last seven seasons and is the first player in league history to go to the Cup final with three different teams in as many years.
In Detroit, he joined a club that were perennial contenders. With the Penguins, he was part of a team that was brimming with young talent. In Chicago, he's in for the long haul after signing a 12-year, $62.8 million contract last summer. And with a promising core of players - Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith - also on long-term deals, the future is bright in the Windy City.
"When I was signing here as a free agent, I knew how good this team could be," Hossa explained to TSN as he prepared for Saturday's Game 1 against the Philadelphia Flyers. "When I was injured, the guys played well and we were winning hockey games. We're not here by accident. We deserve to be here and we have a great opportunity here."
Hossa has as much skill and scoring prowess as Chicago's other elite scorers. But so far, it hasn't been seen on the scoreboard in these playoffs. The 12-year NHL veteran has just two goals in 16 postseason games this spring and not one other Top 9 Hawks forward has fewer goals.
If Hossa finds his offensive game, Chicago may have too many weapons for the Flyers to match.
"Maybe it's my fault and I'm not giving him the puck enough," said linemate Patrick Sharp with a smile. "But he puts pucks in when you don't think he's going to score and he's always stepped up big for us all year, so there's no concern from me or anyone else in the room about 'Hoss.'"
If Hossa is able to find his touch, it would be a rarity on this stage. Of the 18 goals he's scored in the two previous playoffs, only three came in the final. And one of them came last year.
"I've only scored two goals (this year) and it bugs me," Hossa said. "While I try to play the game defensively, I'm also trying to get the offence going. You get a lot of shots and it doesn't go in, but I'm going to keep trying. That's the only way."
Written with files from TSN's Farhan Lalji in Chicago.