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Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky Signing Conference Call


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On what he saw in the Blackhawks...

Hossa: When I look at Chicago, I think it’s an exciting team. They are big, strong and fast. They are a bunch of young guys and I see a nice future in Chicago.

On when he realized it was time to move on from Detroit...

Hossa: I had a great time in Detroit. I was hoping that we could get something done, but with today’s economy and the salary cap it’s really hard to sign all of the star players in a team, and Detroit had star players signed. Somebody just couldn’t be able to sign, and I guess that was me. I knew when I was coming to Detroit that it was going to be for one year – it was basically a great year, even though it didn’t finish the way I would have liked. But now it’s time to move on; I was hoping to sign a long-term deal and Chicago made a great offer. It’s a great hockey town, and I’m looking forward to [playing there].

On what he learned in Detroit...

Hossa: The experience of being with the great players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom – guys who won three or four Stanley Cups. Hopefully, I can bring some leadership to the team. I’m going to be one of the oldest guys, which is strange for me. It’s going to be a little different, but I’m looking forward to playing with a young team.

On the stability of playing in one city for an extended period of time...

Hossa: Obviously, that was something I was looking for. If I could go back to Detroit, that would be great. But I came to Detroit to win the Stanley Cup and it was difficult for me to stay there. Then, Chicago made the offer, and now I don’t have to worry about where I’m going year-by-year; I’m set for twelve years and now I can just focus on hockey.

On what he saw when he played against the Blackhawks...

Hossa: Well, I was only in Detroit for one year, so when I saw Chicago, I was amazed at how they improved. I saw their young talent and they are a big, strong, fast team and that’s what I liked about them.

On how Chicago has changed as a hockey town...

When I saw Chicago three years ago when I came into the league, they were an average team. But last year, they showed how they improved. They have lots of young guys – especially the young, fast forwards – and they showed how tough they were in the playoffs. They gave us a hard time in the playoffs. We’re going to be competing for a Cup next year. They are definitely heading in the right direction and that is why I chose to come here. They have a chance to win the Cup.

On being surprised about how aggressive Chicago was...

Hossa: I was maybe surprised how serious they were, but that showed me how much they really wanted me and it drove me to sign the contract with them.

On whether he knew he would likely have to sign elsewhere after Detroit signed Johan Franzen...

[Detroit GM Ken Holland] was saying he was going to try to sign either me or Franzen, and Franzen signed the contract. You have to be happy for the guy because he improved big-time and deserved everything he got. With the salary cap I knew it would be tough for me to return; if there was no salary cap, I'm sure I would still be in Detroit. But for me it was time to move on and look for a young team, and Chicago is the team.

On how competitive Chicago is compared to Detroit...

Hossa: Chicago hasn't won a Stanley Cup in a long time. Scotty Bowman came there last year and they improved with the new coach, new team. Detroit is a great hockey town with lots of winning, but this is a young, hungry team and they want to go for it.

On his friendship with Hossa and adjusting to a new team...

Kopecky: It's great for me because obviously I learned a lot from the guys in Detroit. From last year just watching Marian and we're really good friends off the ice. I think that helps when you come to a new city, a new organization and have to adapt to the system; it's faster and easier and you can just focus on the hockey... We are hungry to play and excited to come to Chicago.

On getting an opportunity to take on a great role in Chicago...

Kopecky: Definitely, I'm looking for a challenge and we're going to be competing for spots. It's up to us what we're going to do. If you show the coach that he can trust you, he'll put you out there in certain situations. When I look at the lineup we have lots of young guys, skill guys, fast, strong; it's going to be an interesting year.

On whether Hossa's decision affected his...

Kopecky: When I was talking to my agent obviously I knew Marian was deciding what to do. When he told me he signed with Chicago it helps when you come to a new city with your friend. I've known hiim for a long time. Like I said, it's going to be eaiser to adapt to the new city and new organization. I'm very happy and hopefully we're going to have a great year.

On whether they talked about going to the same team...

Not at all. That would be great if it could; we were joking about it at the end of the season. But it wasn't a plan, coming as a package or something. They offered me a great contract and really wanted me and after that it was probably easier for Kopey to sign when they offered him a contract too.

On whether he was holding out hope Detroit would improve their offer...

You always hope being on a great team like Detroit, but it's very hard even for someone like Ken to try to manage and keep all the pieces together. We both would have liked to stay there. But on the other hand, I'm coming to another great organization with a great team, and it's something new I'm looking forward to.

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