Ecstasy to agony for Hossa

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa

, Last Updated: 11:56 AM ET

Marian Hossa was not angry ... just shocked and a little disappointed.

Only hours after agreeing to a three-year, $18-million (all terms US) contract -- which averted an arbitration hearing in Toronto -- with the Senators yesterday, Hossa, 26, was surprised to learn he had been dealt to Atlanta.

While there was speculation Hossa was going to be dealt because he had rebuffed a five-year, $25-million deal from the Senators on Sunday, he was excited about coming back to the only NHL team he had ever known.

"I'm not mad ... I'm shocked and I'm disappointed because I've been with that team for six years and I really enjoyed playing in Ottawa. I loved the fans there and I loved playing in the Corel Centre," said Hossa.

'TOUGH TO LEAVE'

"At the same time, while it's going to be tough to leave the Senators, I'm excited about going to a young team like the Thrashers. They've got a lot of good players and I want to help that team make the playoffs. I had no idea this was going to happen. I signed a contract with Ottawa because I wanted to be there."

Sources say Hossa requested a no-trade clause in his contract just minutes before the deal was signed but the club refused. The hearing was scheduled for a 9 a.m. in front of arbitrator Michael Picher, but was cancelled because the two sides came to an agreement at 8:55 a.m.

After the deal was signed, Hossa couldn't hide his excitement. He agreed to pose for photographs for local newspapers at a Toronto hotel before boarding a flight yesterday.

"We were back and forth on the phone all night. Do I have a message for the fans? I just want to say that this was never about me not wanting to play in Ottawa ... I've always wanted to play in Ottawa," Hossa said shortly after he signed the deal.

"I love playing in front of the fans there. This was always about me getting what I felt was fair value. I'm glad we were able to get this done. I grew up with that team. I've always wanted to stay there and help the team win a Stanley Cup."

That attitude had to change because Hossa is going to a team that will fight for a playoff spot. The Thrashers have made changes, but nobody is certain they're in a position to make the post-season. The Hossa camp knew there was risk involved when he told the Sun he wanted to make the kind of money top players like Calgary's Jarome Iginla are pulling down.

"I'm just shocked by this," said Hossa's agent Jiri Crha. "We weren't given any indication of this whatsoever.

"The Senators didn't make any mention of this at all. Marian is a top player in the game. This is going to be a big change for him. He's surprised, but he's going to go to Atlanta and do his best for that team."

Hossa said he has no hard feelings.

"I understand that this is a business and what this contract was all about is business. The Senators have to do what they feel is best for their team and they got a great player in Dany Heatley," said Hossa.

"I'm going to go to a place where they have a team that wants to improve. I have to go home and get ready for that. I haven't talked to the Thrashers (but) that is probably something that will happen in the next couple of days. I just have to get ready for camp."

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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