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At the Rink blog

Hunter prepared for return to Long Island

Saturday, 02.11.2012 / 1:50 AM
At the Rink blog
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At the Rink blog
Hunter prepared for return to Long Island

The Los Angeles Kings don't get to Long Island too often, but forward Trent Hunter knows every nook and cranny of the Nassau Coliseum.

He should. The Coliseum was Hunter's home for the first eight-plus seasons of his NHL career. He made his debut with the New York Islanders during the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs, was a Calder Trophy finalist two years later and scored 20 goals twice. But he was limited to 17 games last season by a torn knee ligament, and the Islanders traded him to New Jersey for Brian Rolston in late July.

The Devils bought out his contract four days later, leaving him without a place to play. But the Kings invited him to training camp and he earned a one-year contract.

The 31-year-old has two goals and five assists in 32 games as a fourth-liner for the Kings. He'll take the Coliseum ice for the first time in a visiting uniform when the Kings visit the Islanders on Saturday afternoon.

"Eight years, but in the organization my entire career, so I came and went in this building quite a few times," he told Kings Insider when asked about returning to the building he called home until this season.

Hunter was popular among teammates and fans, but said he was able to get past his disappointment at leaving the Isles fairly quickly -- and with no hard feelings.

"It is a business. It's obviously tough, because I was here a long time, and especially last year, with not playing much," he told Kings Insider. "It was tough. When you're hurt, you're around the guys and around the team, but you're not really. You're kind of on the outside looking in.

"Last year was definitely a tough year for me, but like I said, it's a business and everything happens for a reason."

Quote of the Day

He's, believe it or not, actually one of my favorite guys, and I've ended up trading him twice. I appreciate what he's done. He was one year away from being an unrestricted free agent, and I felt with this opportunity, that it was a chance that we were able to get somebody for him in Nick Bonino and Adam Clendening.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on forward Brandon Sutter