Andrew Cogliano wore his heart on the sleeve of his hockey sweater yesterday.
He did everything but come out and say his goal is to prove himself to the point the Edmonton Oilers will never try to trade him again.
Or, as Oilers' captain Ethan Moreau put it: "He was pissed off, but instead of pouting he worked his ass off and he's going to show everyone that he won't be put in any trades again."
Cogliano openly revealed himself to be the anti-Dany Heatley -- somebody who desperately wants to remain an Edmonton Oiler and spend a significant part of his career here.
Heatley took until late August before he talked. Cogliano took even longer.
But unlike Heatley, when he finally spoke about being part of the trade that was rejected by the Ottawa Senators' two-time 50-goal scorer, there was plenty of content in his comments.
Arriving back in Edmonton the night before and taking the ice yesterday with teammates at the Kinsmen Arenas complex, Cogliano served himself up for his first and allegedly last media availability on the subject of his being traded -- along with Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid -- to Ottawa for Heatley on the last day of June.
Characterized by Smid as having been "devastated," Cogliano didn't dispute that as he spoke with candour about the deal that has been hockey's hottest off-season story this side of the one in Phoenix involving Jim Balsillie.
"It was pretty shocking," Cogliano said.
"It was very emotional and at times weird. It was pretty disappointing. I like being here. I want to be an Oiler. I want to play here. I love being an Edmonton Oiler and I want to play here for a fairly long haul."
He's not a 50-goal scorer. But come on -- who would you rather cheer for?
"It was my first taste of it all," said Cogliano, who found out what it was like to be traded without actually having to go anywhere.
"I was sitting on the couch watching TV," he said of how he found out.
"When they listed the names, mine was the last one out. When you're watching TV and your name comes up, it's pretty shocking.
"It was a tough situation. It's even tougher when you're in Canada," said the 22-year-old native of Toronto.
"In Canada people are always coming up to you. People are asking what's going on. And I'm in the middle of it," he said of the worst part of the whole deal, hanging in limbo for more than a month while the Oilers kept the door open on the deal.
Cogliano said GM Steve Tambellini eventually did give him a call.
"I had a couple good conversations with Steve. He apologized for how it leaked out. I know it wasn't the Oilers who leaked it out," he said.
In a twisted way, he admits, you could consider being part of the trade a compliment.
"When you see Dany Heatley as the guy coming back, you realize he's a 50-goal scorer and they have to give up assets to get him.
"It just made me stronger. And it's good motivation, too.I'm a guy who has some worth in the league and I have to prove it now."
To show up yesterday was to get through the longest summer of his life and get back to being what he was when we last left him, an Oiler of good standing with 83 points in his first two seasons of play -- including 36 goals.
"This is a big year for me, a big year for the team. I know I'm still a big part of the team and that I have to play well for the team to do well.
"I'm not holding any grudges. I'm a team player. I'm not putting my ego in front of the team or anyone."
While some see it unlikely that the Oilers can keep Cogliano and Sam Gagner -- two small centres with similar skill sets -- he says he's back with his best buddy and hopes they'll find a way.
"We can play one on the wing. We like being on the same line. We both want to be here," he said.
Cogs and Gags are a definite duo.
They won't be roommates this year, however.
"We both bought apartments," said Cogliano.
"But they're in the same complex."
Breaking up is hard to do.