When it comes to Shawn Horcoff and the Edmonton Oilers deciding to part ways, nobody really needs to ask why.

It's obvious.

All those years of losing would wear on anyone, even a consummate professional like Horcoff. He needed some new surroundings and a fresh start.

And from an Oilers perspective, well, nobody needs new faces more than they do.

So when the captain and the general manager sat down last April to discuss his future, they both knew it had to be somewhere other than Edmonton.

"After I met with MacT at the end of the season I knew it was inevitable and I would be moving on," said the newest member of the Dallas Stars. "I've known about it and the team has known about it for quite a while."

Still, when the Oilers informed him that Thursday's trade to Dallas was done, it was a little surreal to know he'd played his last game in Orange and Blue.

"It was," he said. "It took me a couple of weeks to digest it all. I've never played for another team; 13 years in one organization is a lifetime in this sport.

"This is all new to me, so it took a little bit of an adjustment time. I thought I was prepared for it and everything was fine, but after we agreed to it and everything went through, it was definitely a little different."

For everyone. Former linemate Ryan Smyth has known Horcoff since he was a rookie and has been with him through thick and thin, from a Stanley Cup final to a 29th-place finish. He said it's tough to see him leave.

"I'm a big fan of Horc," said Smyth. "I'm sad to see him go, I really am.

"I like his work ethic and what he brings to a team. He was a good pro on and off the ice. His work ethic in practice rubbed off on players. Those sorts of things identify what it means to be in the NHL and he represented it extremely well."

He's also happy that his bud leaves on his own terms and lands in a pretty nice spot.