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OOPS! Hossa's decision to leave Penguins backfires

NHL.com @NHL

DETROIT (AP) -There was no need for Marian Hossa's former Pittsburgh Penguins teammates to rub it in.

The scoreboard made it clear that Detroit's talented winger made the wrong choice when signed with the Red Wings instead of the staying with Pittsburgh after last season.

Penguins 2, Red Wings 1 in Game 7 on the Stanley Cup final Friday night.

Hossa changed teams hoping to improve his chances of winning a championship, only to end up on the losers' line during the post-series handshake for the second consecutive season.

"I don't regret the decision," said Hossa, who turned down a long-term deal worth almost $50 million from the Penguins for a one-year contract worth about $7.5 million to play for the Red Wings, leaving the runner-up Penguins to play for the defending champions.

Before the Stanley Cup finals rematch, Pittsburgh 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 got the chance, he let it slide.

"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."

In hindsight, Hossa ended up doing the Penguins a favor.

Hossa didn't score in the finals and wasn't a factor when the Cup was at stake, leaving him to watch his former teammates celebrate.

"Whether you like it or not, it's lots of pressure," he acknowledged. "You learn when pressure is on, you learn how to handle it. It keeps squeezing you. It was a pretty tough one.

"I tried to battle hard and couldn't get anything done offensively."

Hossa wasn't alone.

The talented and experienced Red Wings were averaging 3 1/2 goals a game before being held to one goal in each of the last two losses, wasting a 3-2 lead in the series.

Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart failed to make two plays in the Game 7 and the Penguins took advantage.

Stuart turned the puck over early in the second period, allowing Evgeni Malkin to set up Talbot for a shot that went low and between Chris Osgood's legs.

"I just tried to make a play that I shouldn't have, it hit a shin pad and popped out in the middle," Stuart said. "I should have just made the safe play. That's my bad."

Stuart didn't keep the puck in the Pittsburgh end midway through the second and Talbot ended up with it, and snapped off a shot from the left circle that easily got past Osgood's glove.

"It was just one of those plays," Stuart said. "I'd make that play again."

Hossa insisted if he would do it all over again, too.

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.

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

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