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OOPS! Hossa's decision to leave Penguins backfires

NHL.com @NHL

DETROIT (AP) - Marian Hossa ended up doing a favor for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Hossa turned down a lucrative, long-term contract from Pittsburgh last year to sign a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings because he thought they gave him a better shot to hoist the Stanley Cup.

Oops.

Hossa didn't score in the finals and wasn't a factor in Game 7 on Friday night, leaving him to watch his former teammates claim the Cup with a 2-1 victory.

"That's life," he said. "You just have to move on. It's a great life experience.

"It's a tough pill to swallow."

The Penguins didn't need Hossa to beat Detroit and they wisely used the money they didn't spend on him on other players, some of whom they can retain in the future because Hossa isn't around collecting big paychecks.

"It could be different circumstances if I sign in Pittsburgh and now they probably couldn't sign some other players and they would be different team," Hossa said. "So we could sit here for hours discussing this, but it could be different team, could be different things so I don't regret the decision."

Hossa turned down a long-term deal worth almost $50 million last summer for a one-year contract worth about $7.5 million, leaving the runner-up Penguins to play for the defending champions.

He said the Penguins didn't rub it in during the postgame handshake.

"Nobody said anything," said Hossa, who is eligible to be a free agent this offseason. "I congratulated them and that was it."

Hossa, who had a team-high 40 goals during the regular season, scored in just three games during the Western Conference finals and was limited to just three assists in the Cup finals.

Perhaps emblematic of his rough night and series, Hossa even wiped out in front of his own bench in the second period with nobody around him.

"He was probably feeling the pressure a little bit," teammate Brad Stuart said. "It's one of the story lines of the series, I guess, the fact we ended up playing them again.

"Obviously, feel bad for the guy."

Before the finals, Penguins forward Max Talbot said he couldn't wait to shake Hossa's hand when the series was over to tell him he picked the wrong team.

When Talbot greeted Hossa, though, he changed his mind.

"I just told him, `Good job,"' recalled Talbot, who scored both Pittsburgh goals in Game 7. "I think he knows he made the wrong choice, I don't have to tell him."

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