Red Wings Pick Up Right Where they Left Off after Adding a Penguin

Mark Eckhart Jr.Correspondent IOctober 31, 2008

Hockeytown, U.S.A was rejoicing at the end of last season after their Red Wings won the Stanley Cup against the young, up and coming Pittsburgh Penguins. The Wings did it in stylish fashion by winning every one of their playoff series, including the finals, on their opponent's home ice. They entered the playoffs as the President's Trophy winners, for having more points than any other team in the league, which guaranteed them home ice throughout the playoffs.

Going into the offseason, Wings fans had just one hope in mind: that the nucleus of the Wings would stay intact, allowing the Wings to make a serious run at consecutive Stanley Cup titles. If there was any way the Wings could make themselves better, that was just an added bonus.

Then the news hit.

Red Wings sign Marian Hossa to a one-year, $7 million deal. Hossa left the Penguins to test the free agent market, and the Wings wasted no time in signing him. The Penguins made little effort to try and re-sign him because of cap space. Hossa was an intricate part to what the Penguins were able to accomplish last season, but was under appreciated, and rarely talked about because of a few guys named Crosby and Malkin.

I don't know what Penguins GM Ray Shero was thinking, but even coming off of a finals appearance and a fantastic season, you don't let the team that beat you in the finals sign one of your best players away from you. If anything, try and trade him to a contender in the other conference and get something back for him. Due to that free agent signing, the Wings are even better than they were last season, and their stock just shot way up when it comes to a repeat performance.

Two of the biggest contributors for the Wings so far this season have been Hossa and Tomas Holmstrom, who has been known for causing all sorts of havoc for opposing goaltenders in recent years.

Hossa is already leading the Wings in points, assists, and plus/minus ratio, and is second in goals scored. Holmstrom is on pace to smash his numbers from last season, assuming he stays healthy.

In 59 games, Holmstrom had 20 goals, 20 assists, and was plus-9. Through 11 games this season, Holmstrom already has six goals (one game-winner), four assists, and is plus-4. If Hossa and Holmstrom keep up these kinds of numbers through the full 82 games, the Wings will be hoisting their second consecutive Stanley Cup