Marian Hossa has been a wonderfully talented player in the NHL for many years, dating back to his young years with the Ottawa Senators.
Leaf fans knew him well as a budding star with the Sens as they became a top squad under Jacques Martin. Hossa was part of all those playoff battles with the Leafs, often considered an under-achiever at playoff time. In more recent years, he helped both the Penguins (26 points in 20 playoff games) and Red Wings make it to the Cup finals but has not been on the winning side- yet.
That could change this spring, if his latest team, the Black Hawks, can outlast the rugged Flyers.
Hossa’s lack of timing—or good fortune—brought to mind another former Black Hawk (and Maple Leaf as well), Eddie Litzenberger.
Litzenberger came up in the Montreal system, and in fact played some games in the 1952-’53 regular season, a year the Habs went on to win to Cup, though he didn’t play in the playoffs. Litz, as he was called, became the respected captain of the Black Hawks, and helped lead them, as captain, to their most recent Stanley Cup—over the Detroit Red Wings in 1961.
Ironically, he was traded to the Wings that summer, and then picked up on waivers by the Leafs part way through the 1961-’62 season. Toronto went on to win the Cup three years in a row, making it four in a row for Litzenberger personally.
He certainly contributed significantly to the first two Leaf Cups in ’62 and ’63, though played hardly at all in the ’64 playoffs- but enough to earn another ring.
Litzenberger actually finished his career in the minors, winning two Calder Cup championships with Toronto’s AHL farm team in Rochester, giving him six consecutive years in succession with a championship.
Hossa will no doubt do everything he can over the next few days to make sure he gets his first. Saturday's victory by the Hawks in Game 1 is a start.