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Kopecky thrilled for his friend, Hossa

Wings forward hopes to be in opening night lineup with countryman

Tuesday, 09.2.2008 / 2:32 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - DetroitRedWings.com
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Kopecky thrilled for his friend, Hossa
DETROIT – Five months since suffering a torn left ACL, Red Wings forward Tomas Kopecky was back at work Tuesday morning at Joe Louis Arena.

“It was a long summer. A lot of rehab,” Kopecky said.

Kopecky got a jump on his return to the ice a few weeks ago in Slovakia, skating three times a week with several fellow NHLers that included his newly minted Red Wings teammate Marian Hossa.

“I told him this is the best team and the best chance to win the Cup,” Kopecky said. “He’s all about winning, and that showed when he turned down a big deal with Edmonton. I think he’s going to fit in really well with this team.”

Kopecky hopes to be healthy enough to fit in the Red Wings’ opening night lineup.
“Last week I skated four times with the gear and trying to get used to it again,” he said. “It feels better, but it’s not there yet.

“I’m shooting for the start of the regular-season, so maybe one or two exhibition games. I haven’t had any setbacks or anything. I feel it more in my donor leg (right) than in my bad leg (left). It’s just the tension. I don’t feel it in the leg that I had operated on; just the leg that they took a graph from.”

Kopecky’s surgery required a graph from his right knee be inserted into his damaged left knee. The April 22 surgery was performed by Dr. William Clancy in Birmingham, Alabama. The original prognosis included a 4-6 month recovery period.

Kopecky took part in the second optional skate at Joe Louis Arena with Wings teammates Darren McCarty, Brian Rafalski, Nicklas Lidstrom, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and Ty Conklin.
“I feel like I’m 90-95 percent,” Kopecky said.

More players are expected back in town as the week progresses. The optional skates have become commonplace for players as they prepare for training camp. The Wings will again hold camp in Traverse City from Sept. 20-23.

By Kopecky’s calculations, his recover is ahead of schedule. “I feel like I’m 90-95 percent,” he said. But he’d like to be in the opening night lineup alongside Hossa.

“We’ve known each other for a long time,” said Kopecky of the Red Wings’ big free agent acquisition. “We grew-up about five minutes from each other.  We’re really good friends. I have lots of great memories of him when he was still playing in Trencin (Slovakia) and I was still a young guy.

"I’ll pick him up on Friday from the airport and he’ll stay at my house. We’re really good friends and I think that will help especially for a new guy coming into a new environment and everything. I’ll do my best to help him.”

The Wings signed Hossa to a one-year contract on July 1.

“He called me right after he spoke to Kenny (Holland),” Kopecky said. “ It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon when he told me that Detroit had got him an offer, and I told him what I think. I told him when he was ready to sign with Detroit or somebody else to call me right away. He did and he gave me the great news.

“After the finals, he said he’s so excited to play in front of our D – Raffi and Nick, and Kronner. He’s really offensive and really competitive. I think he’s anxious to play good hockey. Here, every time he played, he liked our puck-possession and our style of play. He loves it.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80