Reunion bittersweet for Hossa

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

ATLANTA -- The shock has worn off, but there's still disappointment in Marian Hossa's voice as he comes on the phone line from a hotel room in Buffalo.

The Thrashers winger noted there will be plenty of familiar faces on the Senators bench today when the clubs meet at Philips Arena.

It has been 132 days since the Senators dealt Hossa and defenceman Greg de Vries to Atlanta in exchange for winger Dany Heatley.

Today, Hossa will play against his former teammates for the first time.

"It's going to be different," he admitted. "I know a lot of those guys. I still talk with (Zdeno) Chara and (Martin) Havlat a lot. It will be good to see them. There has to be a first time. This is as good a time as any to get it done."

While Hossa has adjusted to playing with the Thrashers, there's still bitterness about the way the deal took place just hours after Hossa signed a three-year, $18 million US deal with the Senators.

"I'm not upset about the trade, that's business," said Hossa. "I'm just a little disappointed. They knew the trade was going to happen when they signed me to the contract and they decided not to warn me about it in advance.

"That's fine with me. That's business and that's the way it goes. The trade has worked out well for both teams. I understand that part of the game. I'm happy to be with Atlanta. We're a team that's growing and we've got a goal of making the playoffs."

SURPRISED

Hossa never saw the deal coming the morning he avoided arbitration by signing a new contract, but he knows now he made his own bed in Ottawa by demanding to be paid as much as the likes of Calgary's Jarome Iginla and Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier.

Hossa believed once he signed his new contract at a coffee shop in Toronto on Aug. 23, he was in Ottawa for the long term. However, he should have known something was up when the club refused to give him a no-trade clause.

"I just wanted what I felt I was worth in comparison to other players in the league," said Hossa. "I looked at what other guys were making. This was my third contract and I had accepted less to play in the past and I wanted what I felt I deserved.

"I thought I spent a lot of years playing for less than what other guys were making. I felt this was the time for me to get what I felt I was worth. I looked at the points of some of the other top paid players in the league and I felt I deserved to be in that category."

Hossa got his money, but at the heavy price of a change of address.

Instead of competing for a Stanley Cup this season, Hossa is now with a team that will struggle to just make the playoffs. Sure, the Thrashers also have Ilya Kovalchuk, Marc Savard, Vyacheslav Kozlov and Peter Bondra. But the supporting cast is highly suspect and the netminding has been horrible, resulting in a 17-17-6 record.

44 POINTS

Hossa has done his part, though. He has 19 goals and 25 assists in 40 games, and remains positive about his club's playoff chances.

"We've got a good team here and we're playing better as a team," said Hossa, who has moved into a house close to the rink. "We're working hard and we want to make the playoffs. That's the No. 1 goal and we feel like we've got a chance to do that."


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