TAMPA, Fla. Cory Conacher unlaced his skates, and he spoke with mixed emotions.
More than seven hours before puck drop, he prepared for another game at Tampa Bay Times Forum in an unfamiliar, cramped visitors dressing room. His black undershirt, stained with sweat, read, PROPERTY OF SENATORS. Ruffled Ottawa Senators jerseys were tossed into a large black hamper near the center of the space. Down the hall, his former team the lone NHL franchise he had known for the first 35 games of his career carried on without him.
Conacher sat at his locker Tuesday, shortly after addressing a large media contingent, and he continued a morning of change. Six days had passed since the 23-year-old center was traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning to Ottawa in exchange for goalie Ben Bishop and a fourth-round pick in the upcoming draft. Memories of his former home remained fresh.
Ive got to give credit to Ottawa and all the players on Ottawa for helping me feel at home and feel like Im wanted he...