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Hossa Plays a HUNCH
KOSTYA KENNEDY
October 13, 2008
All the money in the world can't buy a Stanley Cup, so free agent Marian Hossa turned down upward of $80 million for one shot at a title with mighty Detroit. He can get the rich multiyear contract later
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October 13, 2008

Hossa Plays A Hunch

All the money in the world can't buy a Stanley Cup, so free agent Marian Hossa turned down upward of $80 million for one shot at a title with mighty Detroit. He can get the rich multiyear contract later

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What Hossa left on the table may still await him—next year, after all, he will be a free agent again—yet he knows well that in a moment an NHL future can become a past. During a game in March 2000 Hossa, following through on a missed shot, caught Maple Leafs star defenseman Bryan Berard in the right eye, blinding him. The incident haunts Hossa still. Berard returned to the NHL one season later, but he is a marginal player who makes a fraction of what he might have earned. "I know [the contract] is a gamble," said Hossa in the Red Wings' dressing room last month, symbolically knocking wood with a rap to his forehead. "The first thing my father said when I told him about [the contract] was, 'Why so short?' But I made the right decision. I've known that since I lay in bed that night."

Now Hossa lies down each night in Royal Oak, a chic suburb of Detroit, where his girlfriend, Jana Ferova, a student in Slovakia, often visits. On Sept. 18, the morning after Hossa's first night in his new place, Red Wings players were having a voluntary skate at Joe Louis Arena. Hossa was about to leave his apartment when he stopped. "I had to go back and look up the address on the Internet. Then I put it into my navigation system," he said that morning, laughing. "I was not going to get lost. I really wanted to be here."

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