Jovo asks for understanding from fans

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

“I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong,” said the ex-Canucks’ defenceman, who signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Phoenix Coyotes on Canada Day.

“These fans are nothing but great to me. I appreciate everything I got from this city and organization.” Anson Carter, Canucks’ leading goal scorer in 2005-2006, was booed on his return with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Like Jovanovski, he went south for a bigger paycheque.

Jovanovski was greeted with polite applause and a few boos when he touched the puck for the first time off the opening face off. Booing grew louder through the first period then faded until only one leatherlunged lout was jeering Jovo.

Jovanovski said he wished negotiations with Canucks’ general manager Dave Nonis had continued a little longer, but “it’s a business, I just had to move on.”

“They gave [Roberto] Luongo a boatload of money and the Sedins were up for a well-deserved pay raise,” he said. “Something’s gotta give.”

Jovanovski joined the Canucks from the Florida Panthers in 1999 in the blockbuster Pavel Bure trade. He said the Canucks had potential to go far in the playoffs during his tenure, but “just couldn’t crack that hurdle.”

Among his fondest memories was coming back from a 3-1 deficit in a 2003 first-round playoff series to eliminate the St. Louis Blues.

Jovanovski said playing under Coyotes’ head coach Wayne Gretzky is a pleasure, even in a Sun Belt city where hockey is vastly overshadowed by football and basketball.

“There’s not as many cameras and reporters,” he remarked. “It’s a game we’re trying to grow in Phoenix.”


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