Yashin Returns To Sens

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Alexei Yashin returned to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday with no apology to his fans or teammates.

"I'm here because I can't play hockey anywhere else," Yashin said.

Yashin sat out the entire 1999-2000 season after the team refused to renegotiate his contract, even though he still had a year left at $3.6 million. Yashin said he doesn't regret holding out.

"I'm not going to apologize to my fans because I know a lot of fans still like me and still want me to play hockey," Yashin said. "I will do my best and we'll see what happens."

It remains to be seen how Yashin's teammates will react to his return. Yashin just might return only to be traded to another team.

"I'm just coming to play hockey and other people have to take care of atmosphere in the dressing room. I just want to keep focused on the game, try to get myself in the best shape and to try to make a lot of my friends happy," said Yashin.

"He would be welcomed back by most of the guys," Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson said last month. "He's a good hockey player and he's going to help any team." Before Yashin held out last season, his agent Mark Gandler presented an offer for a three-year deal worth $3.6 million in 1999-2000, $11 million in 2000-01 and $12 million in the 2001-02 campaign. It was promptly rejected by the financially strapped Senators.

"My job right now is really to make sure Alexei is happy with his career and his life. For now the focus should stay on making the best of this year and going as far as possible," said Gandler.

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