In some ways, it feels like the Ottawa Senators have cornered the market on messy departures. Wholesale Old Skool . Or at least the awkward ones. First there was Alexei Yashin sulking his way out of town in the summer of 2001. Then just prior to the start of the 2005-06 season, Marian Hossa signed a contract extension with the team - only to be dealt hours later to the Atlanta Thrashers (In hindsight, perhaps Hossa should have been suspicious of John Mucklers evil laugh as his pen hit the paper). The next summer, Zdeno Chara up and left as a free agent, not leaving an ounce of return for his massive 6-foot-9 frame. There was also the buyout of Ray Emery just 12 months after he backstopped the club to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in modern franchise history. Dany Heatleys departure the following summer was easily the most contentious and controversial in franchise history. But that exit may have been trumped when Daniel Alfredsson abruptly left town in the summer of 2013 after contract talks reached a stalemate. So, all of this brings us to Jason Spezzas decision to ask for a trade last spring. On the surface, its easy to lump Spezza in with some of the other controversial exits from this city. After all, he was the captain of the team for less than a calendar year when he asked Bryan Murray to be traded to another organization. However, with Spezza returning to Ottawa tonight, there isnt that sense of pent-up frustration and anger from the fan base that we saw when Heatley came back to town. Or even the swirling mixed emotions when Alfredsson rolled back in wearing a Red Wings jersey for the first time. Those departures were sudden and shocking - like a cold slap in the face. But with Spezza, we could all see the writing on the wall for months - if not years. And so, were all sort of looking at each other with the same question: Whats the reception going to be for Spezza tonight? The reason why there might be an emotional disconnect is that the Spezza departure actually felt like a mutual decision. As Gwyneth Paltrow might say, there was a conscious uncoupling between the two parties. Even Spezzas most faithful supporters would agree that it was probably best for both parties for him to move on. He spent more than a decade with this organization and as he pointed out to us Wednesday, when you are the No. 1 centre on a team for that long and you dont win a Stanley Cup, there are going to be questions. In the case of his other linemates - Heatley and Alfredsson - we were left unfulfilled with the public explanations for their departures. So conspiracy theories started to pop up at every corner. Most of these were so ridiculous that they could not be published on a reputable website, but in the absence of a definitive explanation, these rumours ruled the day. Thankfully, we were spared that same script of gossip and innuendo with Spezza because his reasons for wanting to leave town actually seemed believable. And it also felt like it was in the clubs best interests to move on from him as well. There will be some people who boo Jason Spezza tonight because they felt like he turned his back on the organization and the city while he was the captain of the team. But as Spezza explained to me Wednesday, he understood that asking for a trade while wearing the captains C was going to create a stir. Its something I took very seriously, being the captain - especially on a Canadian team and somewhere I had been for a long time. So I was disappointed with how my one year as captain went, but thats hockey and you learn from it. I didnt just wake up one day and decided I wanted to ask for a trade. It was something I felt was necessary to move on in my career and kind of start another chapter. It definitely wasnt an easy decision, Spezza said. Perhaps the easier decision for Spezza would have been to keep his mouth shut and stay in Ottawa until his contract ran out at the end of this 2014-15 season. But then he would have been painted as the villain who left town and gave his organization nothing in return for him. At least by taking this route, Spezza allowed the organization to get a pair of prospects including one - Nick Paul - who projects out to be an NHL player in the future and a second-round draft pick. That return is certainly better than the alternative of Spezza simply walking away as a free agent this summer. And Spezza is also well aware of the narrative going around that he couldnt stand the heat of playing in a Canadian market. He shrugged off that suggestion Wednesday, saying that he never felt like the constant media scrutiny was the catalyst for his decision to leave town. Everybody is going to have their opinion and spin it however they want. But everybody who knows me and has been around me knows thats not why I asked to be moved, Spezza said. I think too much gets made that I just wanted to get out of the spotlight because my whole life Ive been in it. But I just felt it was necessary to move on to another organization and try things a different way. My goal is to win the Cup and I have to try it a different way. People will perceive it however they want, but I dont think Ive ever been afraid to stand in front of a microphone and be accountable for my play. Spezza told me that hes going to miss skating on the canal here in Ottawa, something he made sure he did with his family each winter. On Wednesday, he was planning to drop by his favourite Italian restaurant - Capones - for a bite to eat. And he even went to his old barber downtown for a familiar haircut. In coming back to Ottawa, Jason Spezza didnt need to slink around town with his hat pulled down low. This wasnt a messy breakup or a divorce that has cast one side as the bad guy. Instead, this was a mutual decision to leave and by all accounts, both sides are happy. Cheap Old Skool From China . -- The Guelph Storm are moving on to the Western Conference final after defeating the London Knights 5-4 on Friday in Ontario Hockey League playoff action. Cheap Old Skool Free Shipping . -- Billy Andrade hasnt played much competitive golf over the past four years. http://www.cheapoldskoolchina.com/ . Howard hit a three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.The NHLs Mar. 5 Trade Deadline is drawing closer and teams will be deciding on whether to buy or sell. Check out todays trade-related reports and speculation from around the NHL beat. And follow TSN.ca through Deadline Day for all the updates. Millers Crossing Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News writes that netminder Ryan Miller is unsure about his future with the Sabres. Heading into Wednesdays game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Miller said, "anything is possible" when pondering if it was his last game in Buffalo. Asked point-blank by The Buffalo News if hes told the Sabres he wants out - or told them hes all-in to talk about a contract extension - Miller remained elusive. "Thats not really something I want to discuss with you guys," he said. "Its a private conversation about a business transaction. Really, thats what it comes down to. Im waiting to see kind of what the plans are around here. That would kind of give a little more indication. "They cant execute anything they might be planning until some time passes, where they make some trades or they have some kind of indication whats going to happen. Even then, theres no guarantee theyre going to get everything they want. Its just kind of well wait and see." Harrington also wrote that Sabres GM Tim Murray pretty much confirmed that hes in limbo on dealing Miller as well. Murray said the Sabres are studying options all over their roster but the scuttlebutt around the league is theyre getting plenty of inquiries on pending unrestricted free agents Miller, Steve Ott and Matt Moulson, as well as interest in defenceman Henrik Tallinder. ";There are players on the team were certainly going to go forward with, young guys that they fit what we want to do," Murray said. Old Skool Clearance. "In saying that, if a team calls and they absolutely knock your socks off, then I guess Ive told a fib by saying were going to go forward with a certain player and Ive traded him. It doesnt look right, but thats my motto. Im willing to listen on every single player, so Im certainly listening on Ryan. Is that our plan? I guess well see what other teams have to say." Moving Mike? While TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie reported Tuesday on Twitter that the Calgary Flames and Mike Cammalleri are "continuing dialogue on new contract," Wes Gilbertson of The Calgary Sun says it would be a surprise if the clubs highest-paid player wasnt moved before the deadline. Staying Focused Derek Van Diest of The Edmonton Sun writes that Oilers centre Sam Gagner is focused on helping Edmonton win games rather than trade speculation. "Its something where you try and block it out," Gagner said. "I think its an easier thing to do the further you are from the trade deadline, but as it creeps up, its sometimes hard. I think its important just to focus on your game. I have some things that I need to continue to get better at, and thats something that Im trying to focus on right now, trying to help this team win games, and hopefully, I can do that heading towards the stretch here." Deep Freeze Joe Haggerty of Comcast Sportsnet tweeted out that Boston Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has had trade talks but doesnt see them making any deals before the Olympic roster freeze. ' ' '