Winger Steve Downie conceded he was surprised by the trade that sent him and defenseman Steve Eminger from the Flyers to the Tampa Bay Lightning for defenseman Matt Carle on Nov. 7.
Surprised, but not disappointed.
"I could sit here and could talk, but that's in my past. I'm not going to talk about it," he said when asked if he felt the Flyers had given up on him. "I've forgotten about it. It was a place I played. I'm looking forward, not in the past."
The Flyers' first-round pick (29th overall) in the 2005 draft, Downie is out to prove the team made a mistake by dealing him. "It's definitely a motivator," he said before last night's game against his former teammates at the Wachovia Center. He scored with 4 minutes, 35 seconds left in regulation to force overtime in the Flyers' 4-3 win.
"But I have a lot of things to prove to myself. This just adds to it. I have to continue to work hard and prove everyone wrong."
Downie, who has a history of being suspended at every level, said he understood why the Flyers made the trade.
"They needed a puck-moving defenseman; there was no secret about that. And me and [Eminger] were the price to get that. It's the nature of the business," said Downie, a big baseball fan who attended one of the World Series games between the Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Rick Tocchet, the former Flyer recently named the Lightning's head coach, planned to use Downie on a few lines last night, including one with hotshot rookie Steven Stamkos and former Flyer Mark Recchi.
Tocchet, who spends a lot of summers at the Jersey Shore, and Recchi are excited to have Downie. After a brief minor-league stint that followed the trade, Downie was playing his third game with the Lightning last night.
"I really enjoy this kid. He's got a lot of potential," Tocchet said. "He's kind of like a little spitfire. I heard that his skating was a little bit suspect, but I don't mind his skating. I think he's going to improve. We actually have a skating coach here, and we have a good staff to work with him. He's really good in the corners, and obviously he can hit; he's the type of player we actually need on this team."
Recchi, 40, agreed.
"He's obviously a very competitive kid, and I'm looking forward to helping him," Recchi said. "He's got all the skills to be a good NHL player. He's a feisty player who plays with grit, and this is a great opportunity for him to come in and find a niche with an organization - and find something that people appreciate. It's a little quieter in Tampa and all the things kind of get pushed aside, so he can just play hockey."
Eminger, the other player in the deal, has been effective with the Lightning.
"I felt good in Philly, and I'm happy to be here," Eminger said. "I'm playing hard and physical, and that's what I have to do to stay here."
Eminger had eight points (one goal, seven assists) in his first 11 games since the trade. Carle, a shot-blocking specialist, had one goal and two assists in 11 games win the Flyers, who were 7-2-2 in that span.
Carle was in last night's pregame warm-up, but was scratched from the lineup because of an undisclosed lower-body injury. He is day to day.