Hossa Not a Villian; Red Wings Still Edge Blackhawks

Andrew StoverContributor IJuly 1, 2009

DETROIT - JUNE 12:  Marian Hossa #81 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game Seven of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Marian Hossa, the magician, pulls another disappearing act as he banishes to another rival.

Or is that a reference to his 2009 playoff performance as a Detroit Red Wing?

Regardless of what it is, it’s apparent that Mr. Hossa is a businessman. After coming oh-so-close to winning a Cup in Pittsburgh after being dealt from Atlanta at the 2008 trade deadline, he signed a one-year deal with the team that beat his Penguins in the finals. And after falling just short again with Detroit, Hossa leaves for another familiar foe.

Welcome to Chicago, Marian.

But Hossa is not a Benedict Arnold. No. He already left money—a lot of money, like $50 million-kind of money—to try and win a Cup. Can you blame him for taking roughly $1.2 million per season more? The truth is, you can’t. He found a long-term home. He will be surrounded by a lot of talent and a young core. Hossa made a decision that Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland, along with the salary cap, forced him to make.

Hossa liked Detroit, but after Holland offered him a 10-year, $40 million take-it-or-leave-it deal, he knew he would be giving the Red Wings another bonafide bargain of a signing.

The ironic part of the matter is Detroit’s roster without the Slovak sniper. Subtract Hossa and Tomas Kopecky—who also signed with Chicago today—and replace them permanently with Darren Helm and Ville Leino from the farm system. The Wings will have to either re-sign Mikael Samuelsson or sign a third or fourth line grit forward as well. But what you see is a roster that looks eerily similar to the Stanley Cup Champion roster Detroit fielded in 2008.

Was Detroit more talented in 2009? Absolutely. No matter what you perceive of Hossa after his playoff performance, he is a 40-goal scorer. And as far as playoff performance, take a look at what Hossa did in Pittsburgh the previous year. Just one point behind NHL playoff co-leaders Henrik Zetterberg and Sidney Crosby, Hossa recorded 26 points in 20 games.

So Detroit is losing a wanted commodity. But when the dust settles, Detroit will be near the top again. Chicago continues to aggressively attempt to close the gap, but a gap does remain.

Adding Hossa doesn’t erase the losses of Martin Havlat or Nikolai Khabibulin.

With the "Bulin Wall" inking a four-year deal in Edmonton, that leaves Chicago clinging hopes on 2008 overpriced free agent Cristobal Huet. The Blackhawks created the illusion of having two top goalies, but Detroit proved that both of them had holes in their games during the Western Conference Finals. Especially Huet.

But Hossa is an asset. Unfortunately, Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, and captain Jonathan Toews all have contracts set to expire after next season, so the Hossa signing could muddy the waters a bit.

Marian Hossa is not a villain for leaving Detroit. He already proved last year, by turning down long-term deals to sign with the Red Wings, he has a hunger to win. But will he?

Make no mistake, Chicago got better today. Meanwhile, Detroit lost their regular season leading goal scorer.

And yet, It still won't make that much of a difference.


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