SAN JOSE Former Sharks forwards Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley were saying all of the right things after practicing in their former city on Wednesday as members of the Minnesota Wild.
Yes, they are happy to be back to see some familiar faces, but they have since moved on from getting traded and want to help their new team win on Thursday night.
No one ever wants to leave the team they start with. Thats just how it is, said Setoguchi. I was drafted in the organization in 05 and I was there close to six years.
But, its going to happen. Youre not going to play with one team, and Im not upset. I obviously was a little bit ago, but now its good. Youve got to make the best of it, and Im having fun with it.
Heatley admitted he was a little shocked at first when he was shipped up North for Marty Havlat, but his play suggests that it is already in his distant past. Heatley is tight-checking, defensive-minded Minnesotas leading scorer with 10 points (5g, 5a).
When you like a city and you like your teammates, its always tough to leave, he said. I think thats anybody. It was the same for me. Thats the nature of the business, but when you come to Minnesota, its a group of great guys in the room. I really like the organization, city and fans, and Im enjoying myself so far.
Reaction from the fans could be mixed when it comes to the pair of ex-Sharks. Setoguchi came up through the organization and his affable personality endeared him to many. Heatley, on the other hand, had his worst full season as a pro in 2010-11 with 64 points in 80 games.
Hopefully, theyre not booing me, said Setoguchi. I had a good time here, and it was obviously sad to leave my friends and teammates, but you make new ones.
Good memories here, said Heatley. Ive seen some people already, some trainers and staff. It will be fun to play tomorrow.
The game will be more than just former teammates facing off, of course. The Wild are the hottest team in hockey with five straight wins, and sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. Thats two points higher than the fifth place Sharks, who have played one fewer game.
We know were playing one of the best teams in the league tomorrow and well have to play well to win that game, said Heatley.
Setoguchi said: You obviously want to beat your old teammates and win the game. Thats our goal. We know were not going to come in here and get an easy game in the Tank. If theres anyone that knows that, its me.