SUN Hockey Pool

MacT gambles on Loto

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:06 AM ET

If Steve Heinz could wear 57 in Columbus and Los Angeles, can somebody at the Loto Cup wear 649?

Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish is about to find out as he packs his bags for a 10-day coaching road trip in Slovakia starting Saturday.

"I'm looking forward to it," said MacTavish, who'll assist Canadian coach Marc Habscheid in the four-team tourney.

"I've never really been (to Eastern Europe) other than the time in 1990 when the Oilers went over for a training camp."

Habscheid, a former Oiler and up-and-coming coach in Hockey Canada, says he's glad to have some NHL experience with him behind the bench.

WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE

"We're thrilled to have someone like Craig on our coaching staff. He brings a wealth of experience as both a player and a coach that will add a great dimension to our team."

The Loto Cup goes in Piestany, site of the infamous World Junior brawl between Canada and Russia. Aside from Canada and Slovakia, the other two teams are Austria and Switzerland, so the Canadians shouldn't have to worry about things getting ugly.

"Hopefully we aren't the first Canadians to go back there since the brawl," laughed MacTavish. "Maybe we should start the first game with the lights out."

But seriously, folks.

"It'll be good to see some of the players and evaluate something different from outside of your own organization," said MacTavish, who'll have the likes of Daniel Tkachuk and Edmonton-born Darcy Werenka on the roster.

K-LOWE SCARE: General manager Kevin Lowe had a pretty serious scare this week when he developed an infection in his recently operated-on shoulder.

Doctors had to reopen the area, clean it out as best they could and put him on an intravenous antibiotics three times a day.

"It's a little better now," said Lowe, whose shoulder became swollen and very painful. "I went down to emergency at midnight on Monday and the doc opened it up a bit and put me on the IV. Luckily we caught it early enough. Karen finally convinced me to go.

"With joints and vital organs, if there's infection post-surgery they're really nervous about it."


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