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Matt Duchene met the media in Ottawa just now (the Senators practiced this morning there and will fly into Denver later today) and here’s what he had to say on what his thoughts are on playing his first game at the Pepsi Center tomorrow night since the big trade of a year ago. This comes courtesy of TSN:
“A lot of emotions, obviously. It’s going to be weird. It’s going to be really weird walking into that rink. The only time I’ve been in the guest locker room is when we did our blood tests and stuff in camp, so it’s definitely going to be an interesting experience. But I’m going to have a lot of people at the game, a lot of extended family and things like that, for my wife and some close friends and some people I met along the way, so it’s exciting and obviously there will be some nerves, but I’m excited to get there and get on the ice.”
“I expect our guys to just go out and play hard, and hopefully we get a win. I had a good relationship with all the fans there when I was there and I really appreciated their support over the years. Even, since. I’ve been back in Denver quite a bit at different times in the summer and people have always been so nice to me and welcoming and I think people realize how much that franchise meant, and still means, to me – and will always mean to be – because of my childhood.”
DOES HE EXPECT ANY BOOS?
“Aw, I’m sure there will be the odd one. People have got to understand, though: I gave everything I had when I was there. If I just play out my two years there and don’t say anything, there’s a much different return (on a trade). And that was something I talked to Joe about. I said ‘I don’t want you to be left high and dry here if I move on’ and that was the original conversation. When a guy asks for a trade, he looks like the villain, but it was a success for both of us, where we worked through it. I think Joe knew it was probably best for me to move on, and I’m grateful to him for that. Obviously, some people look at it differently, but…even if the whole place (boos) at the end of the day, I gave it everything I had there and I think people know that.”
Duchene said he’s really enjoying this season in Ottawa, calling the locker room a “great bunch of guys” and that they are close, that he’s found in Ottawa kind of what he’s “been looking for with myself.”
He said asking for a trade was “something I never wanted to do” and that it took a lot of time and thought to do it, that it wasn’t just a spur-of-the-moment thing. “What you want and what you need are two different things,” he said.
On the Avs’ success since the trade, Duchene said: “I’m happy for the guys there. They’ve worked hard. I was part of that and we went through a lot together. I worry more about what’s going on here, to be honest. I have some really close friends, guys that I’ll see tonight and after the game tomorrow and it’s good to see guys doing well.”