It’s a small hockey world. This year’s Stanley Cup Final features friends, countrymen, and former teammates playing against each other. Marian Hossa and Zdeno Chara are all three.
“It’s going to be really interesting,” Hossa admitted to the media. “Obviously we are good friends. He’s my neighbor. He lives right across the street.
“But this coming up two weeks, that has to go on the side and we just have to play the roles. I’m going to play my game, he’s going to play his game. I’m sure right after we’ll be friends again.”
Hossa and Chara are both natives of Slovakia and former members of the Ottawa Senators.
“Yeah, we know each other for many years, from back home,” Chara said. “Obviously we cannot ignore that we know each other, we know the families. But we all know that right now our jobs are play for our teams and compete and do whatever it takes to win games.”
While each player will certainly put his team first once the puck drops, they definitely have a lot of respect for the other’s accomplishments. Chara demonstrated that when he was asked about the fact that this is Hossa’s fourth trip to the Stanley Cup Final in just six years.
“I’ve been saying that for many years. He’s one of the best players in the league,” Chara said.
“He’s unbelievable,” Hossa said, referring to Chara. “He’s one of the best defensemen. We know it’s going to be battle against him, but we have to find a way somehow to deal with him.”
If nothing else, one of them will win their second Stanley Cup soon.