Penguins Notebook: Hossa says he's not thinking about his next contract now
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BOSTON -- Marian Hossa is being paid $7 million this season.
He might make more when he signs his next contract.
But Hossa, the all-star right winger the Penguins acquired shortly before the trade deadline Tuesday, said yesterday money won't necessarily be the only factor that determines where he'll play next season.
If so, that could enhance the Penguins' chances of re-signing him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, especially if Hossa enjoys playing for them and he and the team have success during the stretch drive and playoffs.
"It's not strictly money, but to tell you the truth, right now, I'm not even thinking about it," he said after his first practice with the Penguins. "Right now, my main focus for these [first] few days is on my game and helping the team.
"After I see if I fit on this hockey club, then we can think about the future, talk about the contract."
Penguins forward Adam Hall is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after having surgery to repair a sports hernia yesterday.
He has two goals and four assists in 44 games; his recovery period is projected to be 4 to 6 weeks. Hall earned a contract after coming to training camp last fall on a tryout and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who hasn't played in an NHL game since getting a high ankle sprain Dec. 6 in Calgary, was the odds-on favorite to start tonight against Boston at the TD Banknorth Garden.
At least he was until Ty Conklin made 50 saves in the Penguins' 4-2 victory Tuesday on Long Island. That earned Conklin the right to play again in the building where he made his first start as a Penguin in a 5-4 shootout victory Dec. 20.
"Our philosophy never changes," coach Michel Therrien said. "We go with performance. ... Right now, the way Conklin is playing, I have no reason to take him out of the net."
General manager Ray Shero's bold move to acquire Hossa is getting mixed reviews in many quarters but has been very well-received in his team's locker room.
The trade was tough for some players on a personal level because of their friendships with Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen, who were sent to Atlanta in the deal, but professionally the Penguins seem convinced Hossa will be a difference-maker for them.
"Our team is going to be sick to watch," right winger Georges Laraque said.
He said getting Hossa "makes us a threat right now, and an immediate Stanley Cup contender," and endorsed Shero's decision to act now instead of waiting for the team to develop and mature over another season or two.
"With the new [collective bargaining agreement], that's what you have to do," Laraque said. "With all the star players we have and the money they'll be making, you only have a couple of more years to win the Cup before you have to get rid of those guys to make [salary-]cap room.
"We're ready now. Why not try now? And if we don't win it, next year will be that much closer. You only have a couple of years to win it.
"Right now, I don't see why not."
Penguins forward Chris Minard picked up his first NHL point yesterday, long after he actually earned it. He is being credited with the second assist on Jeff Taffe's first-period goal against the Islanders; that assist initially went to Kris Letang.
First Published February 28, 2008 12:00 am