Hossa getting acclimated to being a Red Wing
After being widely criticized for turning down longer and more lucrative contract offers and signing with the Red Wings, Marian Hossa had two days of skating with some of his new teammates under his belt.
“It was good, you know. Good skate, good sweat,” said Hossa as he sat at his new locker stall in the Wings’ dressing room at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday morning. “Getting ready for the start of camp. Good workout.”
Hossa, who was the cream of the summer’s free agent crop, signed a one-year deal with Detroit on July 2, for $7.45 million. He had spurned long-term offers for as much or more money, including one from his previous team – the Pittsburgh Penguins, who the Wings beat in six games in the Stanley Cup Finals in early June.
“My goal was to come to the team that had the biggest chance to win the Cup and Detroit was the team,” the 29-year-old right winger said. “My choice was between Detroit and Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has some great young players. But in my mind, Detroit was the choice. That was my decision and that’s why I signed with them.”
That hunger for winning the Stanley Cup could give his new teammates a rallying point in Detroit’s quest to become the NHL’s first repeat Stanley Cup champions since the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.
Hossa did just about everything possible to propel Pittsburgh to the Cup. He was third in scoring during the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season with 26 points (12 goals and 14 assists) in 20 games after collecting 28 goals and 38 assists for 66 points during the regular season. He began the campaign with the Atlanta Thrashers but was dealt to the Penguins at the trade deadline.
But, possibly, the best thing about Hossa is that he is just as good in his own zone as he is in the opponent’s end.
“He comes back so hard, he works so hard back checking and coming back in his own end,” said Red Wings’ captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
Hossa said that Lidstrom was also a big reason he wanted to be a Red Wing.
He loves Detroit’s skilled, mobile and experienced group of defensemen.
“From my perspective, you take some of the other guys who are in this dressing room, guys like Lidstrom and Chelios,” Hossa said. “I can learn things from these guys that can help me later on.”
Hossa came within about a second and, maybe, three inches from tying the Cup clinching Game 6 in Pittsburgh late last spring. With Detroit leading 4-3 and protecting the lead, Hossa sent the rebound of Sidney Crosby’s backhand shot through the crease and off of goalie Chris Osgood as time ran out.
“If that would have gone in, that would have been kind of a miracle,” Hossa said. ‘No time and it would have to hit the goalie and then go in.”
And by signing with the Red Wings, Hossa hopes he is on the other side come next June and he and his Detroit teammates will jump on each other in jubilant celebration just as the Wings’ players did only a few feet from him after his potential “miracle” shot just skidded across the crease, just outside of the goal line, and out the other side.