Marian Hossa signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings for the sole purpose of winning the Stanley Cup this season. With the playoffs finally here, NHL.com was able to catch up with the Slovakian star for a quick Q&A.
1. NHL.com: You came to Detroit to win a Cup. You said so yourself when you signed. It's been a full regular season and I'm sure you like your chances now. How prepared are you and the team right now to win that Cup?
Marian Hossa: "I think everybody is ready for the playoffs. Basically we are focusing to play well defensively because we know we have potential to score goals. We have to help ourselves on the defensive side and, if we do it, we'll be fine."
2. NHL.com: Last year you got dealt at the deadline to a contending team, had to find your way and managed to be a key contributor in a Stanley Cup run. This year, you've been a key contributor all season long for the Wings. As a result, do you feel more comfortable going into the playoffs with Detroit than you did with Pittsburgh?
Hossa: "I don't really think about it that way. I just keep playing my game and I don't think about which is easier. Obviously I have been here a full year so maybe this is going to be a little easier because I know the guys from the beginning of the year, but it's the same preparation as I did last year this year. I try not to change too much stuff. I just go out and play my hockey."
3. NHL.com: How is Mike Babcock different or better from some other coaches you have had like Jacques Martin, Bob Hartley and Michel Therrien?
Hossa: "Every coach is different. I've been pretty lucky because I have only had four coaches in the League and all of them have something special, something different. Babs is really determined. He likes little details and he pays attention to those details. If you do the right things, he trusts you and he plays you. He lets you have fun because if he sees it in you to have potential he just lets you play; but you have to be responsible defensively. He has done a good job and the team has followed. That shows something."
4. NHL.com: You recently said you'd take less money to stay in Detroit on a fair, long-term deal for both sides. So, how close do you think a deal is to getting done and have you found a house in the Detroit area yet?
Hossa: "Ha ha. I haven't found anything yet because I wasn't looking. I'll do that if I sign. Like I said, we talked and I like it here. The team has been great to me since I got here. Hopefully, we can find a way to get an agreement done (before the playoffs start). If not we'll try to work it out in the summer. There will be other options, but at this point we are still talking and hopefully we can get something done.
"I'm not too worried about that right now. My main focus right now is the hockey. The contract, my agent handles it with Ken (Holland), and I let those two talk. I'll do my part."
5. NHL.com: Goaltending is the one concern pundits have when dissecting the Wings. How much of a concern is it inside the dressing room?
Hossa: "We believe in ourselves and I think we didn't help our goalies some nights too well and we got outscored big time in a couple games. But, we still have 112 points (third highest in the League). When we play well defensively, the goalie plays well for us. We help each other. If we do that in the playoffs we'll be fine. Everyone has to contribute defensively."
6. NHL.com: What team in the Western Conference, other than Detroit of course, makes you say, 'That's the team nobody wants to see in the playoffs?'
Hossa: "I wouldn't say anybody scares us, but when you look at one of the teams, you look at if they played well all year and something they show in the balance of the season. That's why I would say San Jose. They have been there the whole year, right on top of it. I would say they are one of the big dogs in the playoffs."
7. NHL.com: You've played on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and with Henrik Zetterberg, two of the game's elite centers. With which player do you feel better chemistry?
Hossa: "To tell you the truth, I played with both of them and they are world-class players. If I count the games, most nights I have played with Pavel, so maybe I have a little more chemistry with Pavel. But, I played some good games with Hank, too. They're a little bit different. Pavel is more of a playmaker and Henrik likes to shoot the puck more. As a winger, maybe you like to get the most pucks you can get, but both are great players and it doesn't matter who you play with. It's hard to choose with those two."
Contact Dan Rosen at email@example.com