Most everywhere he goes these days, someone is there to remind Marian Hossa that he's about to play in his third consecutive Stanley Cup Finals while he's still in search of an elusive championship.
The Blackhawks winger heard it again while on the ice during practice this week, and this time the message came from a most interested party in coach Joel Quenneville.
"We had a small talk," Hossa said. "He said, 'This is the third time and so you know what they say.' I said, 'I know, Joel. I've heard it so many times from different people, so I really hope so.' "
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hossa will become the first player in NHL history to play in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals for three different teams when the Hawks take on the Flyers in Game 1 Saturday night at the United Center.
"It is an interesting fact, but it's nothing I really think about," Hossa said. "The main focus is to try to win the series. That's my goal."
It's a goal Hossa has failed to achieve in his two previous Finals appearances, first with the Penguins in 2008 and then the Red Wings in '09. This time around, Hossa is a little bit wiser.
"What you learn is that this is a great opportunity," Hossa said. "Somebody said it comes once in a lifetime, and it has come three times for me. You just want to take advantage of it. It didn't work out two times, so just hopefully the third time will be the one. You just keep hoping and try to do the best you can."
Hossa is relishing the chance to erase the sting of last season's quest, when the Wings fell to the Penguins in seven games and the veteran had to watch his former teammates celebrate on the ice at Joe Louis Arena.
"It's tough," said Hossa, who was limited offensively during the series because of a tear in his right rotator cuff that required surgery and caused him to miss the start of the 2009-10 season.
"You go all the way and you go through all the tough games and the last game . . . you lose by one goal and definitely it doesn't matter what kind of personality you have, it's going to hurt you. It's a really tough feeling to go through that.
"But that's sports. Somebody has to lose and somebody has to win. I have another chance, and you and the whole team really hope and believe it's going to be us."
With the way the Hawks dispatched the Predators, Canucks, and the Western Conference's top-seeded Sharks during their postseason run, this is one opportunity Hossa hopes doesn't slip away, as there's no guarantee of a return trip.
He believes his teammates realize that, and despite his experience said, "There's not going to be any big speeches. Everybody knows how important this is."
That especially includes teammate John Madden, who will be making his fourth Stanley Cup Finals appearance and has two championships with the Devils.
"It doesn't happen every day," Madden said. "I've been very fortunate to be on some very good hockey clubs as has Marian [when] he was with Pittsburgh and then Detroit.