A question of truth

, Last Updated: 7:52 AM ET

Q. So why did you leave Edmonton?

A. "I've been asked that question a million times and I've answered that question a million times and my answer's not going to change. It's personal, family reasons and that's as much as I'm going to get into it."

Q. There's so many rumours ...

A. "There's always rumours. And you know what? I'm not going to degrade myself or my family and substantiate or deny any rumours. That's not what's going to happen here."

Q. Are you happy with the way you handled the trade request?

A. "I think it was difficult. It had to happen fast, obviously, with the draft coming up ... there's three days from the time I talked to Kevin (Lowe) and management and ownership to the draft, when a possible deal if draft picks are going to be involved (could be done), so that they have time to prepare and all the rest of that. I go on a vacation, where I've had it planned for four months. It's a little difficult to all of a sudden stay in town and handle all the media scrutiny when the trade request was supposedly quiet and all of a sudden some media get a hold of it and kind of run with it and certainly all the rumours and everything start flying around. I don't think it's ever easy, I don't think it's ever handled perfectly, but it is what it is."

Q. What do you expect - in the sense of how negative the fans' response could be?

A: Negative? Really? No, I'm sure it's going to be loud and boisterous, much like I know they are. There will be signs, there will be booing and all the rest of that. They are a passionate group of fans that love their team and love their city and certainly, I understand where they're coming from. But at the same time, I'm on the other team now, the opposition team, and I've got to go out and do my job. It's not the first building I've been booed in and it certainly won't be the last."

Q. Do you think it might make you determined to play better?

A. It hasn't affected my performance in the other cities I've gotten booed in, so we'll have to wait and see. We'll see how it goes, I guess."

Q. Do you have any feelings ... anything you've, anything you've heard (about the rumours)?

A. "I try not to read and I try not to hear."

Q. Does the booing bother you?

A. "No, I don't think it bothers you when you're expecting it. I'd probably be a little more shocked if I got cheered than booed. It's one of those situations where we are professional athletes. We are in a sport that fans are passionate about. I certainly expect them to cheer for the home team. Booing comes into the equation for the opposition team."

Q. Do they have that right to boo in your mind?

A. "They can do whatever they want. They are paying their money to come watch the game."

Q. Was there a point in the season where you kind of thought ... I can't come back here and that I will have to move on? And were you able to act like nothing was wrong?

A. "I think that's why we are professionals and that's why we do what we do. We play the game as well and as best as we can. Whether it's through injuries, or personal turmoil, or whatever the case may be, a player's got to go out and perform to their utmost capabilities. And certainly last year was a difficult season from a mental perspective. It was as good a year as I've felt physically and certainly as good a year as I've felt throughout the course of the 82-game schedule and playoff-wise. Certainly, mentally, I was just trying to stay focused and prepared for every game as best I could. And certainly, you try to put the mental side of it aside and things going on that aren't in your control and aren't part of the task in hand, which is the hockey game. You put that aside and kind of use the game as your exile from whatever is going on around you."

Q. Is everything better now? Off the ice, are you happy now?

A. "Yes, things are going well."

Q. What has changed?

A. "I think that's private and personal.''


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