Eight players who were selected to last season's All-Star game were on the ice when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings faced off in the Stanley Cup finals last spring. With the exception of one injured defenseman, they'll all reunite Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
They just won't all be wearing the same uniforms.
Marian Hossa led the Penguins in goals in the postseason, but he's now the Red Wings top point producer as the teams meet for the first time since Detroit's six-game Cup finals victory.
Hossa wasn't with Pittsburgh when the All-Star game was played in late January, but a month later the Penguins made a trade with Atlanta to acquire the mercurial forward, who was due to become a free agent at season's end.
After being highly criticized for his past playoff shortcomings, Hossa helped carry the Penguins in the postseason. He had 12 goals and 14 assists in 20 playoff games, including a goal apiece in the final three games against Detroit.
Less than a month later, Hossa spurned several long-term offers - including one from Pittsburgh worth a reported $50 million over seven years - to sign a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Red Wings (9-2-2).
"I was shocked," Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi told the team's official Web site. "That's just the way it is. He made his decision. We would have loved to have had him. ... I think he's a world-class player. It's unfortunate it didn't work out but that's the way it goes sometimes."
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, who helped set up many of Hossa's goals, insists the team has moved on.
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"We're way past that," said Crosby, who has just three goals so far this season. "There are no hard feelings. There wasn't anything bad about Pittsburgh. He wanted to go to Detroit."
The move seems to have paid off for Hossa. He leads the Red Wings with 17 points, and is tied with Henrik Zetterberg for the team lead with eight goals.
Hossa had his second multigoal game with Detroit on Saturday, scoring twice in a 3-1 win over New Jersey.
Six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom certainly appreciates the impact Hossa - and backup goaltender Ty Conklin, who also came to Detroit from Pittsburgh via free agency - have had.
"To me, they could have gone anywhere, but the fact they wanted to come to our team says something," Lidstrom told the Red Wings' official Web site.
Detroit's problem despite its hot start had been a shaky defense that gave up 37 goals in its first 11 games. The Red Wings, though, have given up three total in their last two wins.
Pittsburgh (8-4-2), on the other hand, had been having trouble scoring with Hossa no longer on Crosby's wing. Evgeni Malkin has 22 points but just four goals, and Petr Sykora, who had 28 goals last season, has only three.
But after scoring only 25 times in their first 11 games, the Penguins have started to pick it up offensively. They've scored 14 times during their three-game winning streak, and got two goals from Tyler Kennedy Saturday in a 4-3 shootout victory over the New York Islanders.
Malkin had an assist Saturday to extend his points streak to 10 games. Half of his 22 points have come on the power play, where he's often played on the blue line with defenseman Sergei Gonchar out for most of the season with a shoulder injury.
"I think with each game he's gotten better and better, especially back there on the power play," Crosby said. "That's not an easy position to play."
Malkin was held without a point for the first four games of the finals before posting a goal and two assists in games 5 and 6.
This visit marks Pittsburgh's first regular-season trip to Detroit since Crosby's rookie year, a 3-1 loss on Dec. 12, 2005.
RW - DET
G: 1 | A: 1
G - DET
S: 24 | SV: 24
C - DET
G: 1 | A: 1