"It will be a happy day for me when that guy retires."
—CHICAGO'S PATRICK KANE ON DETROIT'S NICKLAS LIDSTROM
LAST SEASON 46-24-12 (4th in West); lost in conference finals to Detroit
KEY ADDITIONS RW Marian Hossa, C Tomas Kopecky, C John Madden
KEY LOSSES RW Martin Havlat, G Nikolai Khabibulin, D Matt Walker
For the second straight year high-scoring forward Marian Hossa has changed teams as a free agent, and for the second straight year he has chosen his new club based on his belief that it can win the Stanley Cup. (Question: Will the Slovak star jump to the Czech Republic national team because it has a better chance at Olympic gold in Vancouver?) And for the second straight year Hossa has a superb chance of reaching his championship goal.
The Blackhawks, Hossa's new team, lost to the Red Wings, his old one, in a hotly contested conference finals last spring in which two of Detroit's wins came in overtime. (The Wings then fell to Hossa's previous team, Pittsburgh, in the Cup finals. Oh, snap, Marian!) Now Chicago's young and dashing group returns more seasoned and bolstered not just by the arrival of Hossa (out until at least next month after having rotator-cuff surgery) but also by former Devil John Madden, at 36 still a tenacious defensive center and a burr on the penalty kill.
"We want everything done quickly," says coach Joel Quenneville, who's in his second season in Chicago. "A speed game is the game we have to play."