The trade occurred less than a week ago, but Al Iafrate will be back at USAir Arena today with the Boston Bruins, facing his old team with nothing but joy in his heart.
And on the opposite side will be the Washington Capitals and their new center Joe Juneau, fresh from the Bruins, who while not as happy as Iafrate, is fast becoming enamored with his new team.
"I've never heard Al sound so happy," said Cindy Kiphart, who makes her home with Iafrate and who will give birth to their second child tomorrow. "The Bruins have been nothing but wonderful to him. I don't know how to explain the difference, but everything is going well. They're even giving him several extra days to stay here while the baby is being born."
Iafrate, who flew home after Boston's 6-3 victory over Montreal yesterday afternoon, says he feels more and more positive about the trade as the days have passed.
"First I was kind of relieved when I heard the news," said Iafrate, who had two assists yesterday to go with the two goals he scored in his first game as a Bruin on Tuesday. "Then I was pretty happy. Now, I'm excited.
"I just felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel with Washington. Things change and I just didn't feel I was appreciated."
Certainly, he is appreciated in Boston, which lost All-Star defenseman Ray Bourque to injury one game after Iafrate arrived.
But Juneau also is appreciated in the Washington camp.
"Our situations, Al's and mind, are a little different," said Juneau. "Al wanted to be traded out of town, while being traded was nothing I asked for. But now that I'm here, I am happy.
"In our situation, fighting to make the playoffs, we simply have to beat the next team whoever it is.
"Certainly this game is going to be intense, and I'd love to do well, but what's most important is just to help my new team."
Nearly everyone in hockey gets traded. Caps center Dale Hunter recalls the feeling he gets before playing Quebec.
"It's very tough the first time," he said of the feeling he still gets even now, seven years after the trade. "It's hard to describe. It's weird really. You're really pumped up and yet, you feel kind of bad, because it's such a tough part of the business.
"And it is definitely tougher on the guy who was traded than it is on his old team."
In Hunter's case, he was a Quebec Nordique seven years before he became a Capital. As Washington coach Jim Schoenfeld pointed out, neither Juneau nor Iafrate had been with their previous teams so long that "their team logos are etched in their hearts.
"But it is an usual feeling," Schoenfeld allowed, recalling a trade that had sent him from Buffalo to Detroit. "Yet, once you put a sweater on, you quickly become part of that group. It's amazing how quickly your loyalty changes."
Opponent: Boston Bruins
Site: USAir Arena, Landover
Time: 1:05 p.m.
TV: Channel 7
Radio: WMAL (630 AM)
Tickets: Fewer than 100 available
Outlook: Caps G Byron Dafoe woke up during the night Friday with a sharp pain that prevents him from taking a deep breath. The Caps sent him for an EKG yesterday. At the same time, they had the Portland Pirates dispatch Olaf Kolzig to back up G Don Beaupre today. RW Pat Peake (cracked rib) will return to the lineup today if the team doctor clears him this morning. D John Slaney (sprained ankle) is ready to return to the lineup if needed, and the need depends on D Kevin Hatcher (flu), who is questionable. C Michal Pivonka (minor concussion) is day-to-day. Pivonka, who took a shoulder in the head Friday at Detroit, said he had a headache yesterday, but hoped to play today. G Rick Tabaracci (sprained knee) is out. Boston, which beat Montreal yesterday, 6-3, is without C Jozef Stumpel (knee), RW Cam Neely (knee), D Ray Bourque (knee) and RW Steve Leach (knee).