It was back to where it all began for Lubomir Visnovsky Wednesday night.
Not the beginning of his NHL career -- that would have to wait until Thursday night in Los Angeles -- but the beginning of his strange journey to the Islanders, who acquired the veteran defenseman from the Ducks for a second-round pick in the 2012 NHL draft.
You may have forgotten the rest: Visnovsky, traded for the second time under a contract that contained a no-trade clause, filed a grievance with the NHL to void the deal to the Islanders. Not because he didn't want to be there, but because he believed the no-trade clause was still in effect.
He lost the grievance, but then came the 2012 lockout and an illness to his young son that made him decide to stay in Bratislava, Slovakia, as the lockout ended and the abbreviated 2013 season got underway.
When Visnovsky finally arrived on the Island, he not only made an impact, he decided he liked it there and signed a two-year contract before that season was done.
"It's business," Visnovsky said about his exit from the Ducks. "I'm not the first guy to get traded, not the last. But right now, I'm so, so happy to just be playing. That's in the past."
His two-plus seasons with the Ducks were quite productive: Visnovsky's 108 points in 165 games have him seventh all-time for Ducks defensemen.
"I only played 16 games with Scott Niedermayer before he retired," Visnovsky said, "but he showed me how easy the game is. I have nothing bad to say about my time here."
But after the Ducks missed the playoffs in 2011-12, general manager Bob Murray sent Visnovsky away. The strange timeline of Visnovsky and his no-trade clause began in 2008, when he signed a five-year, $28-million extension with the Kings and was promptly traded to the Oilers a day before his no-trade clause kicked in.
Visnovsky did not put up a fuss when Edmonton sent him to the Ducks for Ryan Whitney at the 2009-10 trade deadline, even though he hadn't been asked to waive his no-trade -- Edmonton acted as if the NTC wasn't in effect, since it had acquired Visnovsky under the same contract.
The run-up to his time with the Islanders was rocky and it mirrors his time with the Isles the past two-plus seasons. He missed 58 games with a concussion last season, then missed the first six this season with back spasms. Wednesday night was only his 66th game with the Isles.
So thoughts of playing next season, when he'll be 39, haven't really been explored. His deal is up after this season and, as Visnovsky acknowledges, "we have a lot of good, young defensemen in the minors."
Plus one more bad hit and he may not have a choice.
"Some guys are lucky, they don't have to know what it's like to miss close to 60 games, to have the concussion and all those problems," Visnovsky said before last night's game. "I'm happy to be playing, my family is happy. All I think about is the game tonight. Game to game, that's it for now."