Havlat: 'I have to move on'

The Ottawa Senators officially traded Martin Havlat to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. (Ottawa...

The Ottawa Senators officially traded Martin Havlat to the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. (Ottawa Sun File/Geoff Robins)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

It didn't take long for Martin Havlat to get a look at his new home.

Less than a day after being dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks by the Senators, Havlat flew to the Windy City yesterday to take a physical and meet owner Bill Wirtz and GM Dale Tallon.

While centre Bryan Smolinski was shocked that he was dealt to Chicago, Havlat knew a trade was coming long before he agreed to a three-year, $18-million (all terms US) deal with the 'Hawks on Sunday.

"I can't say I am surprised. I have been hearing about the fact that I (was) going to be traded for a long time," Havlat told the Sun from Chicago. "I didn't ask for a trade. I would have been happy to play for the Senators this year.

"This is the business part of the game. This is kind of bittersweet for me right now. I am sad to be leaving a place like Ottawa, which has been my home for the last six years, but I am excited to be going to a place like Chicago."

What had to leave Ottawa fans "surprised" was the fact the club only got one proven player -- San Jose defenceman Tom Preissing -- in the three-way deal that eventually sent Havlat to the Blackhawks.

Havlat will be introduced at a press conference today at the United Center. The 'Hawks are hoping the flashy winger can help lead them out of the doldrums.

"Havlat is a young, scoring winger who is exactly the type of player we were looking for," Tallon said. "He is 25 years old and has averaged about a point per game. His numbers have improved every season and he definitely will help our goal scoring."

Havlat knew he wasn't going to get $6 million a season from Ottawa. He knew his days were numbered when the Sun reported during the NHL draft in Vancouver last month that Ottawa GM John Muckler was trying to move Havlat.

"I am disappointed we didn't win the Stanley Cup in Ottawa because we were so close and I always felt like we had the talent here that could get the job done," said Havlat. "We were so close in 2003 and we came within one game (of reaching the Stanley Cup final).

"I thought of Ottawa as my home. I spent most of my summers there, I was there all season and I spent more time there than I did in the Czech Republic in the last six years. That's why it is tough for me to leave and go elsewhere. But I have to move on."

Smolinski, meanwhile, said he received a call from Muckler yesterday informing him of the trade.

"I am disappointed how I found out," said Smolinski, in obvious reference to the fact that details of the deal were known Sunday night but had to wait until yesterday to be officially told of the deal. "But I had a good talk with John Muckler and I understand (the Senators') position. I know where they are coming from and this is a money decision more than anything.

"This is tough. It's hard for my family because we really liked being in Ottawa. I had asked John at the end of the season if I would be back and he said yes, but he said that could change if other things came up. That happens. I know that I have to move on and make a fresh start in Chicago."

Smolinski knows the deal is all about Havlat.

"I told Marty he better score about 1,000 points next season with the deal he just signed with the 'Hawks," Smolinski said with a laugh. "There's going to be pressure on him, but he's a brilliant, skilled, exciting young player and he's going to be the key to this."


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