It's not likely that you're going to find many supporters of the Minnesota Wild who would say bad things about Brian Rolston. The veteran forward was a leader for the Wild, a great community guy, a great locker room guy, and a solid player on the ice.
Friday night, Rolston -- in his first year of a four-year deal with New Jersey -- faces his former team for the first time. It's a chance to catch up with some old friends, and it should be a special night for everyone involved. Or will it be?
Rolston appears torn as to how he feels about facing his former team.
On one hand, he doesn't appear to think there's anything special about Friday's game.
Rolston said facing the Wild for the first time since he left there to sign with the Devils last summer didn't have much meaning, "in the grand scheme of things."
"But the last three years of my career were there and they were good years for me," he said. "It's a good organization and I'm glad I had that stop along the way. But this is a business and we play hockey and we have to get the two points tonight."
Of course, there's the possibility that he disagrees with himself.
"Players ask me all the time what it's like to play there, and I say, 'It's an amazing place to play,'" said Rolston ... "You can't beat the atmosphere there, how great a family place it is, the people are great.
"I had an opportunity to flourish there. Jacques [Lemaire] gave me that opportunity, which I will be eternally grateful for. It just means a lot to me to have played there."
This should hardly be taken as an attempt to read Rolston's mind, but he sure talks as if there's a little more meaning to this than the average "playing against your former team" game.
Friday's game is huge for both teams. New Jersey still has a shot of running down Boston for the best record in the East, and Minnesota enters the night three points out of a playoff spot in the West.