Through Nov. 10, Marian Hossa was leading the Red Wings in scoring, and sat tied for 12th in overall NHL scoring with 29 points on 15 goals, 14 assists, playing in all 27 games. He is first on the team with a plus-nine, tied for the team and league lead with four game-winning goals, and is fourth in the NHL in shots with 118.
On New Year's Day he will join his Detroit teammates in Chicago where the Red Wings will take on the Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field in the NHL Winter Classic 2009. It will be the 701st meeting between the two teams. The 1 p.m. eastern time on NBC, CBS, RDS and NHL Radio will be the third regular-season outdoor game in NHL history.
Question: I just read somewhere you didn't practice today. Are you OK or are you just getting a rest today?
MARIAN HOSSA: Just after the game I felt a little bit tight in my groin. Nothing major. I just felt like today would be good day to just have a treatment and take a little rest and I'll be back on the ice tomorrow.
Question: What generally has the experience been like going over to play for Detroit? You played against them in the Stanley Cup last year, and now you've gone on to a team that's the favorite to win it this year. What has the whole experience been like generally?
MARIAN HOSSA: So far it's been great. You know, expectations are high. That's going to also raise your game. So I try to play my best, playing with the great players, just try to have fun. Right now we are having fun. We're winning games, which is always fun. You know, just be around the guys with all the experience has helped me also.
Question: Why is Detroit better than San Jose this season?
MARIAN HOSSA: Why is Detroit better than San Jose this season?
Question: Yes. Overall, how come you are going to beat them?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, it's not easy question. San Jose is playing the best hockey right now. I think they got an extra couple points on us. You know, they got a really good team. They got a few new players, a few new D-men for this year. You look at them and they're a really strong team. You know, we are a really experienced team with lots of firepower. It's two really good teams. It's hard to say which is better.
Question: Do you think there is a special atmosphere or feeling in Detroit compared to other teams?
MARIAN HOSSA: Special atmosphere, where?
Question: Like a winning culture, winning mentality.
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, definitely. I mean, you know, Detroit being one of the best teams for a so many years, there is nothing but winning acceptable. Just being here, it's another great experience for me, just being part and learning something new. You know, you're just going to play the game and everybody expecting to win. That's a great feeling.
Question: The fact you have a lot of Swedish players, does that affect this in any way, the mentality?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, I mean, almost a quarter of the team is Swedish players. You know, every one of them got something special. You know, like I said, just being part of this team, there is so many Europeans, just great players overall, lots of future Hall of Famers, also graduates with Stanley Cup rings. Just being here to learn something from them, that's helping myself also.
Question: And who is the best Swedish player you have played with and against?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, that's hard question. Well, I would have to say Nick Lidstrom, obviously the best defenseman out there. I think he's the best Swede to ever play.
Question: The team you played for during the lockout, they miss you and are wondering when you will come back and play with them.
MARIAN HOSSA: You know, they drop in the second division. That was probably just a one-time thing for me to be part of. I play with my brother that time first time. It was a little dream come true. We had fun there for a little bit. But I think that would be the last time I will enjoy, even though I had a really good time there.
Question: You left a lot of money on the table last year for a shot at the Stanley Cup this year with Detroit. The world economy is in pretty bad shape. This week at the Board of Governors meeting, there's a lot of grim talk among the owners and GMs about how bad it is. With that in mind, do you have any regrets of not locking in for longer when you had a chance last year?
MARIAN HOSSA: I know the economy is not great right now, but no regrets. I came here to Detroit for one reason, and that's go all the way. You know, we'll see end of the year if that was right step for me. But so far it's been just great experience, having lots of fun, winning games and being part of the great team, and that's what I was looking for.
Question: Are you concerned the kind of money offered last year won't be around? Everybody talks about salary caps being reduced year after next. Kind of risky on your part in some ways.
MARIAN HOSSA: I'm not too worried about that right now. I'm just here to play hockey and we're going to see what's going to happen after.
Question: I know you don't like to think about this during the course of the season, but I know that one of your biggest motivations of coming to Detroit was to win a Stanley Cup. If that does not work out next spring, how much will that influence whether you decide to come back to Detroit another year or go elsewhere?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, you know, it all depends. It all depends. You know, there's quite a few people have to resign also. Also depends on the salary cap, if it's going to go down, it's going to stay the same or it's going to go up. There's a few things you have to figure out before. I'm sure I'll be smarter during the year a little later or after the year and I gonna make my decision then. Until now, it's like not really think about it, what's going to happen next year.
Question: When I saw Mike Babcock's teams for the first time, the Anaheim team in 2002/2003, they were really interesting in their different way of forechecking, how quick they were on transitions. Started thinking about Coach Babcock as one of the top strategists in the game. Last year when you were playing them in the Stanley Cup, they were doing things like 1-4, smothering you with their blueline, cutting off passing lanes. When you decided to go to Detroit, was the opportunity to learn from a coach like Mike Babcock one of the factors, and have you learned a lot?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, I can tell just being here a few months, he really like details. You know, every little details make every player better. You know, he's smart that way. And so far, you know, he prepare the team really well for each game. Even when we don't do good during the game, he can switch things. That's really positive to see on a coach. He don't just play one system, but he can switch teams easier. That's what make him one of the best coaches I think in hockey.
Question: As a result of that, do you find yourself doing things differently than, say, you did them in Ottawa or Atlanta or Pittsburgh?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, obviously, you know, every team got a little different system. So, you know, we talk about, before I came here, what he looking from me to do on the ice. So we talk about it. And there is a few things I maybe change, I do different because of the system. But, you know, I cannot change my game overall.
Question: Can you talk a little bit about your anticipation of playing in this outside game? Have you ever played in an outdoor game, an official outdoor game, that counted in the standings in any league going back to when you were a child?
MARIAN HOSSA: No, never. I mean, when I was little kid, in front of my apartment, outside hockey, that was the only time I was outside. But I don't remember playing outside. No, this is going to be some special thing I'm looking forward. It's going to be huge.
Question: I wanted to follow up and ask you about playing in Detroit, which is kind of the Montréal of the 21st century when it comes to hockey. Do you notice any ramped-up pressure or is it fun for you to play in a town like that or do you not even notice the difference between playing in Detroit and maybe Atlanta and Pittsburgh?
MARIAN HOSSA: Well, you can see the difference when you're playing in the South. Like in Atlanta, hockey is not as huge a market team over there. There is more basketball, baseball, and football. People come to the game, but it's not a huge thing. But like in Pittsburgh, it was sold out every game. People know hockey. People go crazy for it. And same thing in Hockey town, in here. So you kind of like it because it kind of gets you going. People talk about it, everywhere, basically about the Red Wings, which makes it more interesting for the player to play.