“Four other teams,” he chuckled to Alex Parker on News Channel 8 Tuesday night. “You usually call that guy a suitcase when you’re jawing at him from the bench.”

Well, the suitcase is now back home, being unpacked, and not in the post-modern English grad student way. In the actual take-out-your-clothes and move-back-home way.

“I was real excited on Friday to be able to sign back here,” the Potomac native told Parker. “It’s a place I loved playing for when I was here, and it’s amazing to see the turnaround. It’s always been a good hockey city, but it’s turned into an arena that players around the league mark off as somewhere they want to play. The crowds are great, and it’s obviously a great team on the ice, night in and night out. So it was real exciting for me to sign back here.”

As I wrote earlier in the week, Halpern is also newly married, to a former Redskins cheerleader. Reliable Source reported that he and Kelley Cornwell were wed at Johnny’s Half Shell on Capitol Hill, and then honeymooned in the Bahamas.

Wednesday, he’ll meet the media at Kettler, where he’ll probably say more stuff like this.

“Off the ice it’s amazing what’s gone on in this area as far as youth hockey and the area embracing the team,” he told Parker. “I think a big reason for that is the team that’s on the ice. It’s a real easy team to root for. They work hard every night, it’s an excitable group, and I think everyone around the league has a bit of fear when they play this team because of that, because of that excitement and that talent.

“The last four years or so they’ve pretty much dominated at times, if not all the time, most teams in this league. It’s a great group, it’s a great nucleus. They’ve done an unbelievable job keeping those core guys, and creating a team that’s challenging for the Cup every year.”

(The above photo of Halpern is from 2001, by Post photog Rich Lipski.)