Dynamo Riga goalie Mikael Tellqvist was all smiles before Wednesday's 2010 Compuware NHL Premiere Challenge exhibition game against the Phoenix Coyotes.
For him, it was a trip down memory lane. Tellqvist played for the Coyotes for three seasons from 2006-09 and saw a lot of familiar faces as the teams mingled in the area outside the dressing rooms right after Phoenix's arrival.
"It's great to see guys like Doaner," Tellqvist told NHL.com, referencing Coyote captain Shane Doan. "It's just too bad they aren't staying overnight."
If they were, Tellqvist says he would be all up for showing the boys the town. Despite playing his first season in Riga, he says the city is the jewel of the Kontinental Hockey League circuit.
Tellqvist says he will get the start Wednesday night against his former team, playing half the game before giving way to Canadian goalie Chris Holt, a former Rangers farmhand and current starter for Riga.
"Age before beauty," Tellqvist said, laughing. "We're playing half game each. I think that is right way. Get everybody into the game. We'll see what happens."
It's that same wait-and-see philosophy that Tellqvist is using when it comes to his hockey future. He is out of contract this summer and he wouldn't mind returning to the NHL.
"I tried a bit this summer to get back," he said. "You never know with the (salary)-cap system. They are always looking for a reliable backup goalie. Next summer is a new contract deal, so we'll see."
But he knows what lies in store later Wednesday.
"They are probably going to be excited, trying to score on me all the time -- especially Doaner," Tellqvist said, smiling again. "It will be fun."