First of all, Matt at On The Wings has a frigging dissertation up on Hossa and the impact on the roster. He nails it and I agree with almost everything he says (except for a slight Kopecky dig - I love Kopy). His quote of the day is also spot on. Was going to do that myself but he beat me to it. Strong work Matt. Gorilla Crouch, Behind the Jersey, and Abel to Yzerman are all over this shit. The A2Y 19 are buzzing and coming up with some real gems.
So much time, so little to discuss! Strike that, reverse it.
First things first: I'm reading a lot about how much of a genius Holland is. Make no mistake, I think Holland is a genius and I will never say a bad thing about him (maybe I shouldn't say that kind of thing in the Google era...). But let's be real about who made this entire thing happen: it was Marian Hossa. Holland thought Hossa was too rich for the Wings' blood and went to bed. Hossa called him the next morning and offered a one year deal.
Hossa wanted a certain number. Holland was uncomfortable with giving him more than Nick. Hossa bent over backwards to get to Nick's salary. Hossa wanted to come here. That's why I love him. That's why before ever seeing him lace it up, I love him to death. He wanted to be here so bad he practically had to convince Holland to let him come. Undoubtedly he had to put a gun to Rich Winter's head with the amount of money he left on the table.
Moving on. I'm a number afficionado. I love them. I love discussing them. Couldn't tell you why. But I do. Hossa's likely going to be #81, as many around the blogodrome have supposed. Could be some other possibilities - #8, #78, #17, #36. Ugh, though - I hate goalie numbers for skaters. I'm looking at you Samuelsson. (Gotten too used to Draper's #33 to care.) But I would love #81. That's a great number for Hossa. Big numbers can be sort of blocky looking, but big numbers ending in 1 are sleeker and more fitting for skilled players. #91, #71, #61, #51... good company. As Malik said somewhere, it would also be cool to see Slovaks with consecutive numbers. (btw, I also love #82 for Kopecky - big numbers are great for big/physical players. Holmstrom and Franzen are further examples.)
Moving on to onomastics - the study of names and nomenclature. God, the Wings blogotron is dorky and I love that. BehindTheName is a great resource and I'm astounded to find others enjoy it as much as me. Baroque's onomastic etymological research must be credited with two fantastic nicknames for Hossa: Mars, and God of War. "Mars Hossa" just rolls of the tongue. I love it as much as Wally (which is catching on, as Baroque notes! Strong work, YIG commenters!) Certainly better than Fiesta Redwingcana, which is a mouthful and also stolen (or shall we say, adapted).
Back to Holland. While we can't credit him too much for signing Hossa, we can credit him for fitting everyone under the cap... once it happens. On his radio interview at The Fan 590, he sounded confident and at ease about Wally, though he just mentioned him briefly. Bruce MacLeod (who btw also has a great bit about Hossa as a person) has made it seem like Wally's no big deal. Maybe I've been overestimating his dollar-value. But then again I'm a respected GM in the NHL. I successfully piloted the Red Wings to consecutive Stanley Cup Championships in NHL 95 for the Sega Genesis. Also, look at this goalie I drew!
Moving on. Sundin. Make no mistake about it: Hossa's better. I was talking about Sundin as the ideal for the Wings because I, like many, didn't even think of Hossa as a remote possibility. Hossa, if he's at his very best, is a bigger offensive contributor than Sundin, and is better defensively, less likely to break down or have an injury, and he can possibly come back long term. That's maybe the best thing about it. Holland wants to try to keep Hossa long term. At first I thought this was just a full year rental (I was still very happy) but Holland has said he's going to try to make it happen. Now let's not get our hopes up because even before Hossa it was looking tough for the Wings to keep it together in 09-10. But now Hossa gives you a bargaining chip when you go to Z and Mule. Dynasty indeed. Shit, my hopes are already up. Dammit.
Lines. Some people are happy because Hossa's a winger and that lets you keep Fil at center. Personally, I would have preferred a center, because the Wings have the offensive depth to roll three lines. I was dreaming of Z, Sundin, and Fil down the middle. But I'll live. Here's my first guess, with Samulesson on the team:
Kopy's a natural center and Babcock likes him there. He started last year centering the fourth line. He had a bad start but his confidence grew, with injuries he saw time at net-front on the Wings' PP and acquitted himself well. So I like him there. If you trade Sammy then maybe you put Kopy on the 4th line and put Leino at center there. Not sure if he's ready, but you can try. Cleary is actually a natural center so you could do that too. See why I wanted a center? Kopy and Cleary maybe aren't thought of as offensive players but they've got it in them.
Okay, how about this craziness:
I don't mean to say the Wally line is the third line, that's just the order I wrote them in. Hossa + Kopy gives you the Slovak connection. Hudler is Czech, so it's like old school Czechoslovakia. Czech and Slovak are mutually intelligible languages, so it works. Also the line has a good mix - playmaker, banger, scorer. Then the Wally-Mule line is a big physical line, very solid defensively. And then you have the Circus. It's like you have a #1 line, a #1a line, and a #1b line. Spread the wealth. Okay, okay, maybe you spread the wealth too thin with that one. But actually I really like that lineup.
Line possibilities are endless. Basically write down the nine names up there, throw in Sammy and Leino, jumble them in bag. Babcock could do that 15 minutes before every game and we'll run away with the west.
-I am freaking out
-WE GOT HOSSA
-since this is better than Sundin... do I have to light myself on fire?
-all the credit for this must go to Hossa. He wanted to be a Wing, and bad.
-I like #81 for Mars.
-it's time to man up, pete. light yourself on fire, dammit.
-golly, the consternation at PensBlog is hilarious.
-there's a word i'm looking for, starts with an 's' ends with 'tunned'. it's on the tip of my tongue.
-it's not every day you win two cups in one summer.