It seemed all season that Detroit Red Wings fans knew there was a good chance that Marian Hossa would only be in the Motor City for one year. Sales of his jerseys and T-shirts were always lukewarm — a sure sign of a player whose tenure is viewed as doubtful.
The fact that Hossa decided to leave Detroit is not the big news. It’s where he decided to go. The Red Wings rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks was already extremely heated. Now it is going to be downright hate-filled. Hossa’s move will create a whole new level of contention between two teams — and cities — that dates back to 1926.
Hossa came to Detroit primarily to fulfill his desire to hoist the Stanley Cup. He basically played one season for less than his market value with the team he felt gave him the best chance to be a champion. He came within one game of that. Now Hossa will go to Chicago primarily for the money. His 12-year, $68.2 million contract with the Blackhawks makes him one of the highest paid players in the National Hockey League.
I suppose that Hossa’s lackluster performance in this year’s playoffs softens the blow for Red Wings fans. He really fell flat when the Wings needed him most. Time will tell how he will perform against the Red Wings and in future post seasons. But one thing is for sure: the stakes just got higher — much higher — in one of the most storied rivalries in the NHL.