Hossa, Gaborik experience some neighborly competition

Hossa, Gaborik experience some neighborly competition
May 19, 2014, 4:45 pm
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Nina Falcone

During the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, Marian Hossa tried messing with Zdeno Chara a bit.

"I try to joke with him because he like to be serious all the time on the ice," Hossa said laughing. "I know he doesn't like to talk on the ice. I try to throw some funny stories on the faceoff, make him laugh a little bit."

As the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins progressed during last year's Final, so did the story of Hossa and Chara.

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The two are neighbors, living across the street from one another. And now Hossa's back in a similar situation during the Western Conference Final, facing off against another neighbor: Marian Gaborik.

"We're neighbors, I grew up playing with his younger brother," Gaborik said. "We live in the same hometown and we're very close to each other."

But, like Chara, Gaborik isn't interested in any chatter or friendly wages as both teams look to advance. Now it's all about the hockey, and the two can go back to being friends when the series is said and done.

"We talk often during the offseason and we've been in touch up to the start of this series and that's pretty much it," he said. "No interactions now, no bets, whatever."

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Earlier in the series, Hossa talked about his relationship with Gaborik off the ice, saying the Los Angeles Kings' forward is a "laid back, easy going guy." 

But when he hits the ice, Gaborik is far from that. Hossa said that as the next few games progress, the Blackhawks will have to be sure to pay a little more attention to him.

"He is, and always was, a pure sniper," Hossa said. "You give him a little time, he can release it really quick and can surprise you. He has an unbelievable shot. And his speed, when he gets going, you must know where he is; especially in the middle zone he can use his speed extremely well. In one second he’s behind you and you won’t catch him, so you want to make sure you know where he is all the time."

Now Hossa will look to continue winning the neighborly competitions in back-to-back years. Whether his plans for that include another funny story or two on a faceoff remains to be seen.