DETROIT -- Red Wings coach Mike Babcock remembered the first time he ever saw Marian Hossa.
"The first time I saw Hoss was in 1997 at the World Juniors," said Babcock, who was coaching at Spokane in the Western Hockey League at the time. "I came back and told our general manager in Spokane that we needed to get him, but we weren't willing to pay the 50 grand to get him. Portland got him and he played there and they won the Memorial Cup.
"I've followed him ever since and he's just gotten better and better. He's a great two-way player who makes plays and is a big body. He played well with us with the Red Wings, but we had to make financial decisions, as you know you have to. He's went to a good team and plays real well with (Jonathan) Toews."
Hossa played his first playoff game back in Joe Louis Arena on Monday since Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals when he was with the Red Wings and they lost 2-1 to Pittsburgh.
It was a painful defeat for Hossa.
"I believe everything pushes you or moves you a little further, you know, through the tough times," Hossa said. "It kind of pushes you to be better, not just as a player but as a person. I believe we learn from those losses, then when you win you appreciate it more."
Hossa didn't have a goal in the Finals and took some heat for it. What the Detroit fans didn't know was he played with an injured shoulder that required surgery after he signed with the Blackhawks as a free agent a few weeks after the playoffs.
"Those are things you don't control and it's behind me," Hossa said. "It was great playing here. I felt like we had a great season, but we were one game short and it was the most important game. It was painful, but you learn from that and move on."
Squeezing the stick:
Jonathan Toews admitted he was feeling pressure to get his first goal of the playoffs.
"I always do," Toews said. "Maybe there's a little added pressure given the situation. It's one of those things I've got to keep working, keep tying to find ways to score. Eventually it's going to come. Right now, I'm not letting it build up too much in my own mind.
"Sometimes you start squeezing the stick and the rest of your game goes downhill. I'm not letting that happen. Sooner or later something's got to give."
Liking the Joe:
The Hawks were 9-1-1 at Joe Louis Arena the last two season prior to Game 3's loss.
Why was that?
"Every time we come here we know it's time to elevate our game," Jonathan Toews said.
"It's always an important game," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "When you get Detroit you've got to be excited and you've got to play well. It's always been a tough building to play in and you've got to be at your best. We've had some good games in here. They've got lively boards, the ice is good and you've got to play well."
The ice is considerably better than the United Center.
"The puck doesn't roll on you and you're not always looking down," Patrick Kane said. "It's a fun place to play hockey."
Toews honored again:
Hawks captain Jonathan Toews, Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson and Kings captain Dustin Brown are the three finalists for the 2012-13 Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone.
The Messier award goes to "the player who exemplifies great leadership qualities to his team, on and off the ice during the regular season."
"I almost feel guilty for being nominated again," said Toews, who is also a finalist for the Selke Trophy as best defensive forward. "It's definitely a huge honor and the criteria that is required for that award makes it definitely something special."
Messier solicits suggestions from club and league personnel and NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier's alone.
"I've said it before, if you're ever nominated for something, an individual award, much of it has to do with your team and teammates and how they helped you get to that position," Toews said. "I pretty much owe everything to my teammates and the guys in this locker room."
Joel Quenneville wasn't complaining about the officiating in Game 2. "That was a game where they were much better than us and it had nothing to do with the officiating," Quenneville said. ... Viktor Stalberg was back in the lineup for Game 3 after being a healthy scratch in the first two games of the series. "He brings speed, that's the biggest thing," Patrick Kane said. "I think he's a very effective player, especially against the team like (Detroit), where he can use his speed and bring a fast pace to our lineup."