Heckling motivates Red Wings' Hossa
Pittsburgh public enemy No. 1 Marian Hossa said the Penguins' "great hockey fans showed their emotions" Sunday.
Showing those emotions included booing him at every chance and chanting "TRAITOR!" when he touched the puck.
Perhaps those among the 94th consecutive sellout crowd at Mellon Arena should have kept their mouths shut.
"It gives me a little bit more energy," Hossa said after his first game in Pittsburgh since signing a one-year contract with Detroit in July. "You don't see this often. You try to use their energy to your advantage. That's what I tried to do."
Hossa's third-period goal — a brilliant backhand shot from the slot to cap a superb individual effort in the offensive zone — assured that his Red Wings would win this rematch of the 2008 Stanley Cup final.
The goal, Hossa's 30th, staked Detroit to a 2-0 lead in what became a 3-0 victory.
Hossa drew Penguins fans' wrath for showing up in a Red Wings sweater. Many of those fans presumed he would re-sign last summer with the Penguins, who acquired him on Feb. 26, 2008, in a trade with Atlanta.
A star right wing, Hossa was viewed in hockey circles as the perfect complement for playmaking Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who lobbied Hossa to accept one of the Penguins' offers, each at more than $7 million annually.
Hossa opted for a one-year deal with the Red Wings, who are paying him $7.45 million this season, because he said they provided him the best chance to win the Stanley Cup.
"He's a big part of our team," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said yesterday. "I think he's enjoying his time in Detroit. We're enjoying having him."
Hossa's Detroit teammates enjoyed Penguins fans' enthusiastic disapproval of him yesterday. Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said Hossa "would have been disappointed if (fans) didn't do anything."
Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin, Hossa's Penguins teammate last season, described the crowd yesterday as "vicious at times."
"But, hey, it shows they care," Conklin said. "There's nothing wrong with that."
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