Everywhere you look at post-season previews the pundits will tell you one of the Penguins biggest worries (right behind the "no name" defense and untested goalie) is Marian Hossa's performance in the post-season.
To be sure, Hossa has 35 points in 55 career playoff games (.64 a game), well off his regular season average of .92 points per game.
But there are a lot behind numbers like that; last year Hossa and Atlanta got slaughtered by the Rangers and early in his career he played on a Senator team that saw many skilled players not put up numbers; Daniel Alfredsson had 48 points in 69 pre-lockout playoff games, giving him a similiar reputation (one that now no one would say).
For the 2001-02 and 2002-03 playoffs Marian Hossa played 30 games with Ottawa and had 28 points [9g, 17a]. While stats can be misleading at times, 30 NHL playoff games is a fairly decent sample size and Hossa was about a point-per-game player over that stretch.
In conclusion, it seems like Hossa will do well and put up numbers if the team sticks around for a while (those two are inherently linked, of course). It doesn't seem like Hossa is going to be a guy like Mark Messier and put a team on his back for the playoffs, but to write him off as a post-season bust or a non-factor at this time of year seems a little premature.
Hossa's performance on the Pens, while decent statistically (1o points [3g, 7a] in 12 games) has been somewhat disjointed. There was the knee injury right off that bat, but he never really looked comfortable in the few games where he played with Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin. Hossa played more on a line with a non-playmaking center (Jordan Staal) than he did either of the super-stars too.
One of the main things we're looking for is how Hossa will mesh with Crosby and how much of an impact he can have on a series. The Penguins loaded up a lot of their proverbial eggs in this one basket, so it's important. There's pressure on Hossa, but if you're playing hockey at this time of year there's a lot of pressure on you no matter what.
We here seem to think that once the two get in and get settled some of the so called "experts" will be changing their stories after Hossa and Sid create a bunch of chances--and hopefully light up the red light.