Any time a player is traded away, the stock answer from the coach and GM is they hate to see him go.
And the stock answer from the player is he hates to leave. But anyone who saw Marty Reasoner's eyes well up at the trade deadline, moments after being shipped to Boston for Sergei Samsonov, or listened to Craig MacTavish's impassioned tribute, knew they meant it.
And if they didn't know it then, they do now, after Reasoner and the Oilers agreed on a two-year deal to bring him back.
"Like I said when I was leaving, I have always enjoyed it there," said Reasoner, an unrestricted free agent before doing the $1.9 million deal. "In a way I've kind of grown up as a player there. I was pretty young hockey-wise when I arrived in Edmonton and became a different player, for the better. I owe a lot of that to MacT. He was always a straight shooter with me. A lot of times I might not have liked what he had to say, but it was always for my own good."
Reasoner, who can score a little, check a little and is very popular in the dressing room, often went underappreciated by the fans - but management always recognized his value.
"Michael Peca's not coming back and he does a lot of the things that Peca does," said vice-president of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast. "He knows the system, we're comfortable with him and he likes it here. It was a good fit for us."