Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 4/9/13
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 here, Conacher told FOXSportsFlorida.com. Theyve done a good job of doing that. There are a lot of great leaders on this team and a lot of good people. Its important to have that on a team in order to have that chemistry. Conacher was honest and revealing about his Tampa Bay return. He said he had built solid relationships with some Lightning players, but he looked forward to developing new connections in Ottawa. He said that off the ice, he had friends wearing the Bolt, but within the rink, its just going to be a battle." He said that there were no hard feelings between him and his former franchise, but he wanted his current team to win all the same. His return to Tampa Bay Times Forum, for the Senators game against the Lightning, represented the continuation of a new chapter for him. In the first two games since the trade, he had earned one goal and a plus-minus rating of plus-3. Conachers Lightning career was brief. Tampa Bay signed the 5-foot-8, 179-pound native of Burlington, Ontario, as a free agent on July 5, 2011. He had nine goals and 24 points and was considered one of the franchises rising young talents. To him, the trade came as a shock. He learned of his departure from media reports before Lightning vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman relayed the news. It will be a little surreal, Lightning coach Jon Cooper, also Conachers coach in the American Hockey League, said Tuesday morning. Ive gone to war with that kid for a year and a half. It was one of those trades, I just think that was a hockey trade. It helped both teams. I dont think there will ever be a winner or loser out of that trade. I think it was a win-win. But it hurts. Thats the takeaway from Conachers departure. Sometimes, pain is necessary to move forward. The trade was needed for Tampa Bay to secure a talent like Bishop, who the Lightning hope can add depth in an area of their greatest weakness. Sometimes, hard choices must be made. Still, the differences were stark. On one side of the hall at Tampa Bay Times Forum in a small room where Cooper stood there were words of praise, nostalgia and thanks for Conachers impact. On the other where the young players new life was found there were words of anticipation for where this partnership could lead. His offensive ability and his upside are unbelievable, Ottawa winger Chris Neil said. To see a guy at his size, how he works and he competes, hes never down and out. He reminds me a lot of (Martin) St. Louis and his competitive level. He has always been told that hes never going to make it. He has proved everyone wrong. He adds speed and skill, Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. He has good vision with the puck. We think, right now, the chemistry developing with (winger Jakob) Silfverberg and (center Mika) Zibanejad has been very good. That line has been very good in the two games that he has played. They have the ability to hang onto the puck. With the three of them, they are very skilled, and they see the ice well. So far, we like the way that it has gone. Both Conacher and the Senators will learn more about the other in future time spent together. But for a moment Tuesday, with memories of a former life fresh, the young player was given a chance to look back. That was the first time in my life that I got traded from a team, Conacher said, dressed in his new colors. Its definitely hard to leave some of those guys. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Carmelo Anthony says he's putting his trust in Phil Jackson

Lynn Swann: Calvin Johnson not a Hall of Famer

NFL requiring background checks for combine participants

Rams owner buys massive 520,000-acre Texas ranch

Cam Newton explains why he did not dive on fumble

George Karl’s agent rips Kings, wants broadcaster reprimanded

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Popovich has funny reaction to New Hampshire results

Suns vets pull packing peanut prank on rookie Devin Booker

Teammate gives Manning final completion ball from Super Bowl

Report: Ole Miss Football cited in 13 of 28 department violations by NCAA

Larry Sanders to consider NBA comeback after other interests stabilize

The NCAAB power rankings

Oscillation, thy name is Pablo Sandoval

Mat Latos could be the steal of free agency

WATCH: Blackhawks coach walks out of press conference

Greg McElroy: Cam Newton 'quit on his team'

Tennis umpires secretly banned over gambling issues

WATCH: Dancing Kentucky fan slides down rail, fails

Clemson LB has great response to NFL draft analyst's criticism

Former Aggies QB Kyle Allen reveals culture problems at Texas A&M

Roy Williams collapses during game vs. BC

Panthers TE Greg Olsen shaves off his playoff beard

Derek Fisher thanks Knicks in statement

Miami Heat to honor Shaq by retiring his number 32

Oakland Raiders release Nate Allen

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker