Marian Hossa had a chance to put his money where his mouth is, so to speak, and he jammed his foot into it instead.
That, and he stuck his head into his five-hole too, while he was at it.
Hossa, the Red Wings’ 40-goal scorer for a season, is on the move again.
He’s been a rent-a-player (with Pittsburgh after being acquired at the trade deadline in 2008), and a mercenary (signing with the Red Wings for a year for a “kick at the can”, as hockey players call the pursuit of the Stanley Cup).
Now he’s disingenuous.
Hossa signed with the Red Wings last summer, almost one year to the day, because he was oh-so-wanting to win a Stanley Cup. He took less dough to play in Detroit, turning down more lucrative offers from the Penguins and, reportedly, the Edmonton Oilers.
But now Hossa has turned down the Red Wings’ offer of $4 million a year to ply his trade for the divisional rival Chicago Blackhawks, who offered a 12-year deal at an average of a little over $5 million a year.
Granted, the contract is front-loaded, meaning that even though the average is $5 mill-plus, the first few seasons will pay Hossa over $7 million per campaign.
But the average isn’t much more than what the Red Wings were able to offer, albeit in shorter term.
Hossa, apparently, doesn’t fancy the Stanley Cup as much as I thought he did.
I shouldn’t be surprised; money does speak a very influential language.
The Blackhawks aren’t league dregs, by any stretch. I’ve written that they will, someday soon, hoist the Cup.
But the Red Wings, with Hossa, are a better bet to return to the Cup Finals than the Blackhawks are without him.
Yet the Blackhawks, with Hossa, still aren’t better than the Red Wings. The main difference is on the blue line.
Anyone can declare, after signing a one-year contract, that it’s all about the Stanley Cup. One year isn’t much of a commitment.
I said before the free agency period began, that it will be this summer, in this scenario, where we’ll see just how serious Hossa is about winning a Stanley Cup.
Let’s see what he does, I thought, when there’s more than just a 12-month commitment at stake.
And, he didn’t disappoint.
I’m not angry with Hossa. I’m not hating the guy.
But let’s not, anymore, make this about the Stanley Cup. Because it’s not, not now.
Marian Hossa is a business. And he’s a businessman. Again, no quarrel with that.
I’m fine with all that, as long as he’s fine with ending the talk about Stanley Cups being worth more than the jack.
Championships are for legacies. Contracts are for financial security. The former doesn’t provide the latter. I get that.
Hossa had a chance to really make a statement, though. A golden opportunity to change, in one fell swoop, the perception of the typical professional athlete.
Had he re-signed with the Red Wings, putting his faith into a team that came within a couple of goals of winning two straight Stanley Cups — goals that he could have provided, by the way, if he was on his game — then he’d really have said something.
It really would have been about winning, and winning only. And with enough dough to be comfy cozy, to boot.
Hossa had a wide open net staring him in the face and he missed it.
Didn’t he learn his lesson, after leaving the Penguins?
I guess the Red Wings just won the 2010 Stanley Cup.