Islanders' Bo Horvat says goodbye to former Canucks teammate and his beard at NHL All-Star Game
SUNRISE, Fla. — Bo Horvat bid farewell to former Canucks teammate Elias Pettersson and then to his scruffy beard.
That’s because the All-Star center will practice with the Islanders for the first time on Sunday after a morning flight from Florida.
“I actually asked that question today,” Horvat said, rubbing his facial hair, about when he needed to be clean-shaven to conform with president/general manager Lou Lamoriello’s team rules. “I [had] to make sure this is not going to be presentable, so I’m going to have to get the razor out tonight.”
Horvat, acquired Monday for Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and a top-12 protected first-round pick, set up Pettersson with a saucer pass and the duo had another potential goal waved off as the Pacific Division lost to the Central, 6-4, in the opening contest of the NHL All-Star Game on Saturday at FLA Live Arena.
“It was fun to play with him one last time, for now,” said Horvat, who will make his Islanders debut in Philadelphia on Monday night. “We’ll see what happens in the future. It was kind of bittersweet out there. It was a lot of fun.”
“Definitely,” Pettersson, endorsed by Horvat to succeed him as Canucks captain, said when asked if the two were focused on having this last hurrah together. “We talked about it: ‘Whatever happens, just make sure we score one together.’ ”
It’s been a whirlwind week for Horvat, whose family vacation was interrupted with news of the trade. In that sense, having All-Star Weekend conclude was a relief.
“Yeah,” he said. “It was great but, at the same time, I wanted to get going. Enough is enough now, let’s start playing some games and getting to know the guys. I just want to start playing hockey again. I’m really looking forward to getting there [Sunday].
“Getting my legs under me is going to be No. 1. Getting the systems down and chemistry with the new linemates. I’m not sure who it’s going to be. I’m really looking forward to meeting the guys and hitting the ground running in Philly.”
Horvat said he has had only one conversation with coach Lane Lambert, who called him the night of the trade to welcome him.
“He’s been really good about it,” Horvat said. “He kind of left me alone to just enjoy the weekend. He’s going to throw a lot at me. I’m going to have to get sharp with the mind.”