SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers won't 'watch idly'

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- The Edmonton Oilers could make a trade before the end of this three-game road trip, but GM Kevin Lowe won't make a deal just to snap his slumping team to attention.

"We've had 49 games to watch the team now," said assistant GM Scott Howson, who made the trip south with the Oilers. "I think we have a better idea of what the team is. You're constantly evaluating.

"We're not going to watch idly as we continue to struggle. We'll do what we can to help the team. Sometimes you can get things done. Sometimes you can't."

Goaltending's been the focus of trade speculation until now, and it remains a sore spot. The problem is, many of the names that have been thrown out aren't available, at least not yet. Robert Luongo of Florida and Olaf Kolzig of Washington are among the top stoppers mentioned most often, but there's been no indication from the Panthers and Capitals either is on the block.

It's more likely the Oilers will look to a team like Buffalo, where the Sabres are juggling Martin Biron and Mika Noronen behind Ryan Miller, or to a club that's out of the playoff race, like Columbus, where the name Marc Denis keeps coming up.

The Oilers might also be looking to bolster the blueline, where rookie Matt Greene has the No. 5 job and is taking turns in tandem with Igor Ulanov and Cory Cross.

Again, the most willing trade partners are likely teams out of the playoff hunt. One name brought up at Rexall Place yesterday - by reporters, not the Oilers - is Jaroslav Spacek of Chicago.

"Every area of our game right now is lacking," Howson said. "We're not scoring like we used to score. We're evaluating that, too."

Oilers players, of course, are well aware the potential for a move increases as this slump continues.

"We've won," said Michael Peca, asked if this group of players is good enough to get it done. "We went into Detroit and won. We've won in a lot of good games. We've proven we've got the ability to win with who we've got.

"It comes down to looking at yourself. Instead of saying, 'What can the general manager do?' How about saying, 'What can I do better?' "


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