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Published: Thursday, 7/2/2009

Hossa leaves Wings for Chicago

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO - The Chicago Blackhawks dipped deep into the NHL free-agent market by signing star forward Marian Hossa away from the Detroit Red Wings yesterday with a 12-year, $62.8 million contract.

Hossa, who surprisingly took a one-year deal with the defending champion Red Wings last summer, cashed in this time.

The four-time all-star and 11-year NHL veteran has played on the Stanley Cup runner-up the last two seasons - while with the Penguins he lost to the Red Wings, and this year with Detroit, he fell to Pittsburgh.

"Now I don't have to worry about dealing with it year-to-year. I'm set for 12 years. That will make it easier, and I can focus on hockey," Hossa said.

Chicago also signed center Tomas Kopecky, who, like Hossa, played last season with the Red Wings. He was knocked out of the playoffs after sustaining injuries to his face during a fight with Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin in the second round.

By adding Hossa, the Blackhawks won't be re-signing Martin Havlat, who led the team in points last season. A free agent, Havlat made $6 million last season at the end of a three-year deal. The Blackhawks also did not re-sign goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, their starter during the playoffs last season, who earned a new deal with the Edmonton Oilers yesterday.

The 30-year-old Hossa will be counted on for some leadership. The Blackhawks, who lost to the Red Wings in the Western Conference finals in May, were the youngest team in the NHL last season.

Hossa has played for Ottawa (1997-2004), Atlanta (2005-08), Pittsburgh (2008), and Detroit (2008-09), recording 719 points - 339 goals and 380 assists - in 775 regular-season games. He has appeared in 98 playoff games with 31 goals and 45 assists.

He led the Red Wings with 40 goals last season and was third on the team with 71 points. He had 15 points - six goals and nine assists - in the playoffs. He had no goals and three assists in the seven games against Pittsburgh.

"I had a great time in Detroit. But with today's economy and the salary cap, it's really hard to sign star players," Hossa said.

"Somebody just couldn't be able to sign, and I guess that was me," he added. "That was basically a great year. It didn't finish how I would like. Now it is time to move on."

Other signings:

•The New York Rangers landed the second biggest prize of the day, signing high-scoring forward Marian Gaborik away from the Minnesota Wild.

•The Canucks finally reached deals to retain identical twins Henrik and Daniel Sedin - the team's leading scorers last season with 82 points.

The pair signed five-year, $30.5 million contracts.

Defenseman Mattias Ohlund couldn't say the same as he left the Canucks after 11 seasons to sign a seven-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The 32-year-old is the Canucks' career leader in goals by a defenseman with 93.

•The Montreal Canadiens signed former Calgary Flames forward Mike Cammalleri to a five-year, $30 million deal, and defensemen Jaroslav Spacek and Hal Gill. Spacek left the Buffalo Sabres for a three-year, $11.5 million contract, and Gill was lured away from the Penguins by a two-year contract worth $4.5 million.

•Star defenseman Scott Niedermayer made his return to the Anaheim Ducks official by agreeing to a one-year, $6 million deal plus bonuses.

•The Florida Panthers reached a six-year contract extension with young forward David Booth and inked former New Jersey Devils goalie Scott Clemmensen to a three-year deal.



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