Hockey is in the air. Marian is in Detroit.
Q&A with ... Red Wings RW Marian Hossa
Hossa wants to learn—and win
When watching Marian Hossa skate at Joe Louis Arena next to Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom, his decision to pass on millions of dollars to play one season in Detroit looks a little less crazy. Sporting News Today hockey writer Craig Custance chatted with Hossa following an informal practice in Detroit. And no, Hossa isn’t regretting the decision.
Q: You’ve been in Detroit about a week. How’s it going so far?
A: I’m still looking for a place to stay and getting to know the city. But I have a good buddy of mine (Tomas Kopecky) helping me out and that’s huge. If I was by myself, it would be tougher.
Q: Do you like what you’re seeing so far on the ice?
A: Definitely. They took me in very good, really quickly. Everybody is almost here, we’ve been skating for awhile already. These are fun practices, lots of passing. I’m looking forward to the season.
Q: When did you start thinking you’d sign with Detroit?
A: I was thinking about it during the summer. During the playoffs there was no time. I was focusing on my game. Right after we finished, I started thinking what would be the right place. The key thing I knew is that I wanted to be on a good team and the money didn’t matter at that point. It came down to two choices—Pittsburgh and Detroit. I know how (good) I
had it in Pittsburgh, I just felt a little bit that this was the destination because I could learn from experienced guys. It can help me in the future—Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios—you don’t see guys like that anywhere else. This is a place I want to learn and win something.
Q: You can still learn at your age?
A: I think so. I’m 29 years old, almost 30. You still can learn, you know? Especially when you look at how hard those guys work, you realize something there.
Q: Were you surprised by the negative backlash that followed your signing in Detroit?
A: Whatever you do is always positive and negative. You’re never going to win. You’re never going to keep everybody happy. I knew there was going to be some people not happy about it. It’s my life and my choice and I have to live with it. I felt I made the right decisions. We’ll see at the end of the year.
Q: Did you talk to Sidney Crosby after you signed with Detroit?
A: I talked to Sid, we were texting and e-mailing. Obviously, he’s a little disappointed. He wished me good luck. He understands. He’s a smart guy.
Q: Based on your decision, isn’t there more pressure on you to win now than at any point in your career?
A: Definitely, I know there is pressure. I know I’m on a good team and there are lots of talented guys. This is a winning team, a winning organization. I knew where I was signing. Obviously, at the end of the day it can happen that we won’t win, but I know I gave myself one of the best chances to come to the strongest team. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world.
Q: What happens if you don’t win it all? Does that change things again next summer?
A: We’ll see what’s going to happen. It’s still far to say, it’s nine months ahead of us. Who knows what’s going to be at the end of the season, the end of the playoffs? I’d be lying if I told you I knew right now.
Q: Do you care who you skate with on a line?
A: There’s a lot of talent. You look around, it doesn’t really matter. The first two lines are really strong–Zetterberg or (Pavel) Datsyuk, there are lots of great players. You name it, you’ve got it.
Q: Are you going to be fine with it if they don’t put you on the first power play unit?
A: I talked to Coach (Mike Babcock) before I signed to see how he’d manage it. He was saying that he has two teams on the power play. Whichever is hotter will play. As long as we win, I don’t care.