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Red Wings Sign Cup Hero Krupp

Uwe Krupp scored the biggest goal in Colorado Avalanche history. Now he will be playing for their heated rivals.

Krupp, who scored the overtime goal that gave the Avalanche the 1996 Stanley Cup, signed a four-year contract with the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings Monday.

"Certainly we know playing against Uwe the last few years with our friendly rivalry down the road, Colorado, what an important player he's been to their success the last few years," Detroit general manager Ken Holland said.

Krupp, a 6-foot-6 defenseman from Germany, was equally pleased to have the chance to play for the Red Wings.

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  • "I'm very excited to be here ... It's interesting to play against Detroit from the other side. Now, I'm thrilled to be here," he said after putting on his new No. 4 red jersey.

    Negotiations with Krupp, an unrestricted free-agent defenseman who was chosen by Nashville in June's expansion draft, were quick and quiet. Terms of the contract were not released. Holland said only Krupp went for the going rate for players of his caliber.

    "The important thing is we really feel we've solidified our defense position," Holland said.

    Krupp, who made 1.5 million last season, received an offer to stay with the Avalanche late in the season, but his agent, Roland Thompson, said it wasn't as much as he was likely to receive on the open market.

    Krupp said playing for the Wings was a top choice after he became a free agent last month.

    "It's very hard to pass up," he said. "It's the best team in the league ... It's tough to say 'no, I'd rather go to another team.' A Stanley Cup contender and Stanley Cup champion, it's certainly a great honor as player at least to show interest in you. It was a big factor," Krupp said.

    Another draw was the possibility of playing for coach Scotty Bowman, who drafted him in Buffalo in the 1983 Entry Draft.

    "Scotty Bowman is basically responsible for me being in North America playing hockey," Krupp said.

    Holland said it is uncertain whether Bowman will be back at the head of the team.

    "We certainly anticipate that he's going to be back," he said. "I'm pretty certain that Scotty's going to be back, but we're certainly still awaiting his final decision."

    The 12-year NHL veteran spent the last three seasons with the Avalanche, and the one before that in Quebec, before the franchise moved to Colorado.

    Krupp, 33, led the Avalanche in plus/minus this past season with a plus-21, which tied him for 14th in the league. He had nine goals and 22 assists in 78 games.

    He became an All-Star in 1991 with Buffalo, a season in which he had career highs of 12 goals and 32 assists. Krupp has played in 695 regular-season games, also with the New York Islanders after Buffalo.

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