Havlat having a blast

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

CHICAGO -- Marty Havlat has life by the tail.

Here he is, at a classy restaurant close to the downtown condo he owns in a city he thoroughly enjoys, laughing and loving time with some friends who are visiting from Ottawa.

Aside from the bout with a flu he has just beaten, he's healthy and ready to be productive once again.

He's a 25 year-old bachelor and one of the most explosive, entertaining players in the NHL and now he's due for some good luck.

After missing 82 games -- the equivalent of a full season -- with injuries over the last two years, all the bad luck should be out of his system.

"I'm trying not to think about it," Havlat said with a chuckle last night. "But yeah, that's sounds good."

A first-round pick of Ottawa's in 1999, Havlat was emerging as a scoring superstar that the Senators felt they wouldn't be able to afford next season, so they decided to deal him in July. He was moved to Chicago, along with Bryan Smolinski, for Tom Preissing, Josh Hennessy, Michal Barinka and a second-round pick in 2008.

Now, as a $6-million-a-year man with the Blackhawks, he will face his old team for the first time this afternoon when the Senators drop by the United Center for a 3 p.m. game.

"I don't know, I've never been in that situation before," he said when asked how he thinks it'll feel to go up against guys with whom he spent his four seasons in North America. "I think it's going to be like any other game this season ... just a little bit different."

Havlat was off to a great start, picking up 10 points the first four games with his new team. The 'Hawks had won 4-of-6 out of the gate when Havlat suffered an ankle injury that would sideline him for seven weeks.

Michal Handzus and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin also went down around that time, and Chicago never did recover.

Today, Havlat has a team-leading 24 goals and 26 assists for the 'Hawks, who are second last in the Western Conference and left to play out a 17-game string before another summer that will come too early.

"It's been a completely different year than the past in Ottawa," said Havlat. "I had a lot of fun there. The role is a little different than in Ottawa, but I'm still having fun. I'm just trying to do my best every night.

"But yeah, that's what I miss the most about Ottawa. The friends, for sure. I still talk to them a lot."

The Blackhawks have lost eight of their last nine games and scored just three times in their last three outings.

Coach Denis Savard reached his boiling point after Friday's 6-2 loss to the Red Wings. He called a team meeting immediately afterward, then told reporters he would no longer stand back and watch players go through the motions.

"They're not embarrassing me. They're embarrassing themselves and, more importantly, they're embarrassing the logo," Savard, who has a 16-21-7 record since taking over from the fired Trent Yawney, was quoted saying in the Chicago Sun-Times. "I won't play them."

Savard was particularly perturbed at Ottawa native Adrian Aucoin-- who didn't see the ice again after taking a penalty midway through the second -- and former Senator Peter Bondra, who made a mistake on Detroit's second goal.

"He plays two nights in a row and he gets tired," Savard said of the 38-year-old Bondra, "then he doesn't think well out there."

Havlat likes the future for the 'Hawks. He says they have a number of good young players in the organization and they will soon be better.

"But we still have 17 games before the regular season ends," he said. "I'm trying not to look too far ahead."

No, that's for later. Today he'll be looking at his past.


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