Brew tries to fill void

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

ST. LOUIS -- Easy come. Easy go.

That pretty much describes Eric Brewer's arrival from the New York Islanders in June 2000 and his departure to the St. Louis Blues last August in the trade that brought Chris Pronger to the Edmonton Oilers.

Not much has changed for Brewer, dealt to the Show Me State along with Jeff Woywitka and Doug Lynch for Pronger. Brewer is still playing a load of minutes. He's still very good, although not as good as some critics suggest he could be. And he remains a matter-of-fact kind of guy.

"I'm out there to play and to get the job done. I think it's been fine," Brewer said before facing the Oilers for the first time since the trade last night.

Pronger, who spent 10 seasons with the Blues, talked last week about the microscope he felt he was under after St. Louis traded Brendan Shanahan to Hartford to get him in July of 1995.

Now it's Brewer, 26, who is trying to fill the void created by Pronger, who won a Hart Trophy and Norris Trophy with the Blues in 2000 before being made available in a salary dump.

"People have been very receptive," he said. "To be honest with you, there's still a lot of talk about Shanahan here. I don't know, for whatever reason, but it's been good. You're never going to replace someone like Prongs, so you kind of just come in and do your thing."

Brewer faced the Oilers having scored 4-2-6 in his first 12 games with the Blues. The lanky rearguard from Vernon, B.C., has been playing almost 26 minutes a night.

"You can always be better," he said. "We need to win more games. That starts from the defence out. I think we've just kind of found a way each night to give ourselves a kick in the rear. Penalties have definitely not helped. It's not like we take one or two penalties. If we take one, we take four. You just can't do that."

Brewer and his wife have purchased a home in the town of Clayton, about 20 minutes outside St. Louis, and have settled in.

"Things have gone so well," Brewer said. "People here have been really good to us."

As for facing the Oilers? "A lot of close friends. A lot of things start going through your head," he said. "That's part of it. We've all been traded and we'll be traded again. You've got to get over it."


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