The writing had long been on the wall for Kyle Turris and it was literally so days before his trade from the Phoenix Coyotes.
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The Anaheim Ducks, like many teams, write the opposing team’s lines on a grease board in the locker room on game day, and last Wednesday the Ducks had Turris centering the fourth line for Phoenix.
It was incorrect.
Turris didn’t even play that night but the fact that he was in a fourth-line center role spoke to how far gone a conclusion his exodus from the desert had become.
After a six-game stint with the Coyotes that was pointless both literally and figuratively following a prolonged contract dispute, Turris was traded to Ottawa last Saturday for promising Swedish defenseman David Rundblad and a second-round pick.
The trade ended a holdout that threatened to make Turris ineligible to play this season and was one of the more derided episodes in the NHL.
But Turris said before that Anaheim game that he stood by his decision.
Asked if he would have done anything differently, Turris said, “That is a tough question because I don’t regret a thing I did. There’s obviously things I probably would have been done different, but the point of it wouldn’t have changed.
“You can take what you want out of that but I wouldn’t have changed. I don’t regret what I did. Some things might have changed, but what I was trying to get across wouldn’t have changed.”
That’s going to be a difficult argument for many observers to swallow.
The third pick in the 2007 draft, Turris has 19 goals and 46 points in 137 NHL games. That’s almost laughable considering the impact of some players drafted after him that year, such as Logan Couture of San Jose and David Perron of St. Louis.
Phoenix general manager Don Maloney made it clear that the organization did not share Turris’ perception that he should be a top-six forward at this stage of his career and therefore didn’t deserve the accorded money, and that rift couldn’t be patched.
Turris’ image took a big hit because of his holdout, and the missed time didn’t help.
Phoenix coach Dave Tippett acknowledged before the trade that it wasn’t the ideal situation.
“It’s a process to get up and moving,” Tippett said. “We’ll continue to work on that. I knew it was going to be like this kind of coming in. As much as you hope he’d jump in and (start) racking some points, it’s probably not realistic.”
Turris has maintained all along that Phoenix wasn’t the right place for him, and now he has a chance to prove it.
Slotted as the No. 2 center for Ottawa, he’ll play significant minutes in a role he thinks he deserves.
"When I heard I was traded to Ottawa, I was extremely excited to be a Senator and to be in a Canadian market, and all the fun that’s going to come with that," Turris told reporters in a conference call.
“I talked to coach (Paul) MacLean this morning and he said he’s excited to have me, and I told him how excited I was to be a Senator and that I’m looking forward to getting there Monday, joining the team at practice and getting to work."
In return Phoenix gets Rundblad, who led all defensemen in the Swedish Elite League with 50 points in 55 games last season and couples with Brandon Gormley to give the Coyotes two defensemen with bright futures on the organization.
Meanwhile, Turris is still looking for his first goal this season. The bar is set low because he only needs 11 to match his single-season career high.
Said Turris with a smile, “Once one comes, they all come.”