Now, he’s hoping for the exact opposite.
Kopecky, the Wings’ second-round draft pick in 2000, decided it was time for a change as he bolted to Chicago with his friend and countryman Marian Hossa.
The Slovakia native spent four seasons with the Red Wings, posting 12 goals and 20 assists in 183 games.
“It will be fun, and more fun when we beat them,” Kopecky told a Chicago newspaper on Wednesday.
After the Blackhawks skated at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday morning, Kopecky was asked about the comment.
“Right now I’m on this side,” he said. “I’d love to win, it will be great if we beat them. They’re always a hard team to beat, and every time all the other teams are measuring the Red Wings as a top team in the league, and when you beat them it’s a great feeling.”
Kopecky said he has been in touch with some of his former teammates, including Tomas Holmstrom
and Dan Cleary.
“I talked to a bunch of guys,” Kopecky said. “Homer, Clears a little bit; it’s a weird feeling, coming here, to this side of the rink, but you gotta get used to it.”
He expects the chatter between his old friends to continue when they step onto the ice tonight.
“There’s going to be lots of trash-talk on the ice,” Kopecky said. “It’s a fun game, coming here I know all those guys are going to have fun talking about me, and we’re going to have fun here, and hopefully we come up with two points.”
The Wings will be excited to face their former teammate, but they’ll have to wait to see Hossa, the Wings’ leading goal-scorer last season. Hossa underwent shoulder surgery this summer, and isn’t expected back until mid- to late-November.
“I think he’s right on schedule,” Kopecky said of Hossa. “The surgery and everything went well, he’s rehabbing right now, working out really hard, getting into shape and everything. The sooner he will be ready, the better for us.”
Needless to say, it’s a strange situation for Kopecky, who said that today was the first time he had ever been in the visitor’s locker room at JLA.
“It’s pretty strange,” he said. “I have great friends over there, and it’s going to be a fun game, obviously it’s something I’ve never experienced before, and I’m looking forward to it.”