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Penguins Report: Team Downplays Hossa's Departure

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Related Article: Hossa Can't Believe His Good Fortune

VS Game Preview: Pens vs. Wings

The Detroit Red Wings added insult to injury for the Penguins this summer. First, they defeated Pittsburgh to win the Stanley Cup in six games. Then, less than a month later Detroit signed away Pittsburgh’s highest valued free agent in Marian Hossa.

The Penguins will see Hossa and the Red Wings for the first time since last year's Stanley Cup Final when they travel to Detroit for Tuesday night's game at Joe Louis Arena at 7 p.m.

“(The Red Wings) were the best team in the league last year,” Penguins head coach Michel Therrien said. “They won the Stanley Cup. Adding a player like Hossa, definitely will help them too.

Hossa opted to sign with the Red Wings because he believed Detroit had the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup this season.

“It's a personal decision," Petr Sykora said. "I think he felt that Detroit has a little more experience, especially after winning the Cup and beating us. For me personally, I was a little surprised that he would sign there.”

“He’s a good player," Therrien said. "We enjoyed having him last year. He really helped us to reach the Stanley Cup Final. He certainly was a big part of the success of our team last year.”

Hossa helped the Penguins reach the Stanley Cup Final with 12 goals and 14 assists for 26 points in 20 playoff games. The Penguins made a contract offer to keep Hossa, an unrestricted free agent, in a Penguins uniform. However, he signed a one-year contract with Detroit on July 2.

“He was a free agent; people don’t realize that,” said Sidney Crosby, Hossa’s linemate during his stint in Pittsburgh. “He didn’t leave. He was a free agent. He made a decision. We’re way past that. It’s old news. He’s on Detroit now. That’s just the way it is. There are no hard feelings. There wasn’t anything bad about Pittsburgh. He wanted to go to Detroit. That’s basically it.”

     
 

 
     
“I was shocked,” Rob Scuderi said of Hossa’s departure. “That’s just the way it is. He made his decision. We would have loved to have had him. I think Detroit is that much better for having 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 acquired Hossa on Feb. 26, along with Pascal Dupuis, in exchange for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a 2008 first-round pick. Hossa and Dupuis skated on the top line with Crosby. Hossa registered 10 points (3G-7A) in 12 regular season games before shining in the postseason.

“Nothing’s guaranteed but I thought he got along with everyone here in the short time he was here,” Scuderi said. “He meshed well with his linemates and was playing great. I thought it was a great fit. But ultimately it’s his decision, that’s what we’re going to have to live with.”

Hossa is a legitimate sniper, with 307 career goals, and six seasons with 29 goals or more. He is excelling on a line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom. Through 13 games this season, Hossa is the Wings’ leading scorer with 17 points (8G-9A). His 17 points rank seventh in the NHL.

"He’s playing great," Sykora said. "He’s proving he made the right decision I guess. Hopefully we’re going to shut him down (Tuesday).”

“He’s just one of the weapons they have there,” Brooks Orpik said. “He’s a pretty big, strong guy. He’s plays pretty physical himself. He’s one of those guys that you want to play physical with him, but he actually plays pretty well when you do play physical on him because he’s so strong that he can power through you.”

Despite Hossa’s exit, many of the Penguins are grateful for his help last year.

He’s not one of us now, we have to let it go and move on. - Sidney Crosby
“Like anybody who knows him, he’s an upfront guy,” Crosby said. “We all thought Pittsburgh was going to be the place. It didn’t happen. He’s an honest guy. He enjoyed his time here. He considered us and moved on. I don’t see the point of dwelling on it. He’s not one of us now, we have to let it go and move on.”

“He was a great teammate when he was here,” Orpik said. “There shouldn’t be any hard feelings from anyone towards him. He was a standup guy when he was here, played hard for us. I wish him all the luck in Detroit. I think everyone wishes he was here this year and came back, but he didn’t so you move on.”


> Evgeni Malkin missed some time in Pittsburgh’s game against the New York Islanders on Saturday with an undisclosed injury. Malkin participated in the Penguins practice on Monday and said he’s ready to play against the Red Wings.

“It’s good,” he said of the injury. “It’s not broke, not a problem.”

Malkin missed a limited amount of time against the Islanders. He credits modern medicine for his speedy return.

“The doctor gave me a couple pills,” Malkin joked. “I’m good, I go back (in).”


> Therrien preached all training camp about the team getting off to a good start. His message got through.

Pittsburgh opened the current campaign with an 8-4-2 mark for 18 points. It’s the best start for the team since the 1995-96 season when the Penguins went 8-3-3 for 19 points.

“That was one thing we addressed with the players," Therrien said. "From Day 1 of training camp, we wanted to have a good start. You look at the record and you have to be satisfied. As a coach you always want to play better every month. We’re on the right track right now."

Pittsburgh had a rough start to last season with a 7-10-1 record for 15 points through the first 18 games. Last year, the Penguins didn't reach the 18-point mark until the 20th game.

So what is the reason for the hot start?

We just have to stay on the same pace here, approach each game the same way. You can’t get caught up with your record. - Sidney Crosby
“We’re playing good hockey,” Crosby said. “We’re getting big plays. That’s the difference. I don’t think the games are any different. They’re close. We’re getting that big play. We had some overtime wins. It can easily be the other way if you don’t get those big plays. It’s not going to be easy. We’ve had a couple tough losses as well. We just have to stay on the same pace here, approach each game the same way. You can’t get caught up with your record.”


> He said it: Sidney Crosby on player former teammates:

"We're playing against a team that has a player that played for us. We played against Tampa. There (are) a lot of players for us there. That doesn't really affect the way we play."



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