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Hossa will take the booing in stride

by Mike G. Morreale
PITTSBURGH - Marian Hossa doesn't expect a warm welcome when he steps on the ice for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday at Mellon Arena.

And he's perfectly fine with that.

"Booing in Slovak really means 'Go Marian go,' " Hossa said with a smile following his team's morning skate on Tuesday.

It's been well-documented how Hossa left the Penguins in the summer of 2008 to sign a one-year deal with the Red Wings instead of a long-term contract somewhere else. Hossa posted 12 goals and 26 points in 20 playoff games with the Penguins last season. On Tuesday, he returns to Pittsburgh for his first playoff appearance since that memorable run last season.

While Pittsburgh hasn't forgotten Hossa's decision to bolt The Steel City, Hossa knows it's up to him to deal with the situation and make it work it to his advantage. Hossa has 6 goals and 14 points in 18 games this postseason. All six of his goals, in fact, have come in Game 4 of the first, second and third rounds (two goals each) of the playoffs so far.

"We have to make sure they don't get back into this series," Hossa said. "(Pittsburgh) has lots of talent and they have a quick game. They're playing well and we just have to make sure we're playing well to match their intensity."

Hossa expects Mellon Arena to be loud for Games 3 and 4, as it was when he played a part in the club reaching the Cup Final last spring. He notched a pair of assists in 18:15 of ice time in a 3-1 victory in Game 2 on Sunday. The 10-season veteran has 31 goals and 75 points in 93 career playoff games.

"Mellon Arena was loud during the regular season so I'm sure it's going to be even louder during the Cup Final," he said. "But I'll look to use that to my advantage. I think the (Penguins players) have said some things to me on the ice during the games, but I don't pay much attention to it. It's going to be a really loud building though and there's going to be a lot of emotion. Obviously, every time we touch the puck, it's going to get even louder and we're going to have to deal with that."

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