Tomas Kopecky Jersey never wanted to leave in the first place.
So when it came to choosing the team with which he would sign a tryout agreement in the hopes of extending his NHL career, the veteran forward came back to the Blackhawks.
At 33, Kopecky is in training camp trying to latch on with the franchise he helped win the 2010 Stanley Cup and a season later set career highs in goals and points. Following the 2010-11 season, during which he had 15 goals and 27 assists, the Hawks traded the rights to the soon-to-be free agent to the Panthers, with whom Kopecky signed and spent the last four seasons.
While South Florida was nice, leaving the bulk of the group that brought the Hawks their first championship in 49 years was difficult.
"I wanted to stay here in Chicago, but it's a business," said Kopecky, who has 68 goals and 106 assist in 578 career games. "I've kind of learned that along the way. I chose to come back here because this is one of the top organizations and it's a winning organization. That's what I want to do. I want to win.
"It's awesome to see all the familiar faces and a couple of young kids too. I'm really appreciative for getting a tryout. We'll see what happens."
With the roster in flux after an offseason of radical change, Kopecky is vying for a spot on a Hawks team that could have use for a hard-nosed, experienced player who can slot into any forward position and provide net-front presence on the power play and kill penalties.
The two-time Cup winner — he won his first with the 2008 Red Wings — described his game as "kind of gritty, get in front of the net and get into people's faces and agitating — whatever it takes."
Helping Kopecky's bid is the familiarity he shares with Joel Quenneville and his coaching staff.
"They obviously know what I do and what I did when we were successful," said Kopecky, who was in contact with several other teams before settling on the Hawks. "They know what kind of player I am and that helps a lot. ... I kind of know what their expectations are. That makes my job a little easier. And I'm familiar with the city, the people playing here and the style they play."
Said Quenneville: "Certainly, we know Kopy. He's one of those experienced guys that you can play him in multiple positions. He can do a number of different things. He can be a net-front guy on your power play, he can kill penalties. He can take faceoffs, he can play wing. But his experience is part of it."
Kopecky did not play in Tuesday night's exhibition opener against the Red Wings at the United Center but is expected to see plenty of action during the preseason as the coaching staff determines if he can contribute in a 10th NHL season.
If the Hawks decide they don't have a roster spot for Kopecky, he has no plans to retire but doesn't want to play with Rockford of the AHL.
"I probably would try a different option, either another (NHL) team or Europe," Kopecky said. He added that he wants to play "at least a couple of more years. Hopefully, it works out here."
Goon-less: In the past, Quenneville has gone out of his way to make sure the Hawks had an enforcer on the roster, but that no longer appears to be the case.
"Certainly, (that) changed to almost a whole different level last year," Quenneville said. "It looked like the need for that type of player wasn't there. When you saw a couple of fights in our schedule up at Notre Dame (last weekend), it was like, 'I can't remember the last time I saw a fight live.' So, I don't know if that's the way the game is now, whether the need is there. It's almost to a different level where you don't need that one-dimensional tough guy." Jonathan Toews Jersey.
World view: Quenneville's name has been mentioned as a possible candidate to coach Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey next year.
"It would be a great honor," he said. "It's a great environment. It would competitive as heck. It'd definitely be a privilege and it'll be a great event."