Other teams have improved their lineups with the addition of proven winners through free agency or via the trade route, but Detroit didn't take a back seat to any of them. The Red Wings bolstered an already formidable attack with the addition of Marian Hossa
"It adds another player that can play in any situation," said Detroit forward Dan Cleary
. "Marian is so gifted offensively. I played against him last year in the Final when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins
and he was probably their best player. Bringing him on board can only help. He is a great talent.
"Then again, I knew everything about him.
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I got to play with him during the lockout, so I knew what he brought to the table. He is a such a good skater, he is strong and has a great shot. Marian has an eye for the net, a real knack for scoring."
Cleary isn't the only Red Wings player impressed by Hossa's remarkable skills.
"What I learned about Marian when I played against him was how big and strong he was on the puck," said Detroit goalie Chris Osgood
. "I played against him when I was with the Islanders and he was in Ottawa and noticed how fast he was on the ice. Then when he moved to Pittsburgh I noticed how big he was and how hard he competed in the corners for the puck. But he is a more complete player than I ever thought he was and that's the biggest thing I've learned about Marian now that he is here in Detroit. He has great offensive talent. He always has and always will but I am surprised at how good he is at all of the other elements of the game."
"He is so explosive," said Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom
. "The way he is able to hang on to pucks is amazing. You think Marian is going to get knocked off the puck, but he has the ability to still have it on his stick and still find players or get his shot off. He's got great quickness. Marian is such an explosive player and still has the shot and quickness. His first two strides are among the fastest in the league and with his skill it's tough to defend against him."
So how does a defenseman defend against a player with such power?
"You've got to try to stay close to him, especially through the neutral zone," explained Lidstrom, the winner of 6 of the last 7 Norris Trophies. "You just have to try to skate with him. He can still stickhandle well, but if you go for the big hit he is so shifty that he can beat you that way. So you just have to try to stay close to him and really close that gap on him."