Icing on the cake

SCOTT MORRISON -- For Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

Can you say dynasty?

Then start practicing.

Already, the Detroit Red Wings were as close to being one as many thought possible in the salary-cap universe, having won four times during the past 11 years and having knocked on the door several times otherwise before finally winning for the first time post-lockout this past spring.

Well, just as the theory that overspending on July 1 would somehow disappear in the new world order, the notion that a dynasty won't again exist may be proven wrong.

LOADING UP

Consider what the defending champions have done the past couple days.

First, they re-signed defenceman Brad Stuart, whom they picked up at the trade deadline, to a reasonable and affordable four-year, $15-million contract, meaning their top four on the blue line -- Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall and Stuart -- will remain intact. Stuart could have signed with the Los Angeles Kings for $3 million more.

All but Lidstrom are locked up long-term, for four seasons, and he has two years to go and is showing no signs, with three consecutive Norris Trophy wins, of slowing up.

Teams are often happy having just one great defensive pairing, two is filthy rich, and it proved the difference at various times during the playoffs, with the way the Red Wings were able to keep their end clean and control the puck.

Then they re-signed defenceman Andreas Lilja to a two-year deal, maintaining their great depth on the blue line and stockpiling assets to allow them to address whatever needs may arise along the way.

With the great Dominik Hasek retired, they signed veteran goaltender Ty Conklin, who helped keep Pittsburgh afloat last year when Marc-Andre Fleury was injured, to a one-year contract to back up Chris Osgood -- unless young Jimmy Howard's training camp alters those plans. Either way, it's a win.

"The good part about it is, we won the Stanley Cup and we'll have basically the whole team returning," general manager Ken Holland said Tuesday. "That doesn't happen very often." Then, yesterday, they made the biggest splash, taking from Pittsburgh (and others), by signing winger Marian Hossa to a one-year, $7.4-million deal, adding more firepower to a championship team that has effectively lost nothing and ensured there will be an intense desire to keep winning.

A hungry superstar, after all, should help temper the Stanley Cup hangover.

Doing that doesn't happen very often, either.

Neither is it often affordable -- meaning one year, $7.4 million, just a few hundred thousand more than Hossa was making last season and not a penny more than Lidstrom is making as the top Red Wing. But it was also millions less than Hossa could have got signing elsewhere.

What price potential success, indeed?

But Hossa's attitude is, at age 29, to try to win and still be able cash in. It is highly admirable.

The only risk would be if he suffered a major injury, but otherwise his performance isn't going to drop off and, bottom line, is he wants to win now.

WANTS TO WIN

He did, after all, see what it looked like, up close, when the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup last month.

And he is yet another player who has accepted less to either move to Detroit, or stay there.

By signing for just one season, the Red Wings won't be handcuffed moving forward trying to re-sign Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen, who become free agents next summer. It is a win in so many different ways.

No NHL team has repeated as champion since Detroit in 1997 and 1998.

The Red Wings were expected to be a favourite to repeat next season, now they most definitely are.


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