Tarnstrom happy to be in Edmonton

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

The Pittsburgh Penguins were already thinking about tee times instead of the post-season dates when they traded defenceman Dick Tarnstrom to the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 26.

With the greens and fairways beckoning in Steeltown any day now, the soft-spoken Swedish blue-liner is instead readying himself for the first round of the playoffs with the Oilers.

There's no doubt how he feels about that.

"It's what you play 82 games in the regular season for,'' Tarnstrom said after an optional practice at Rexall Place yesterday.

"It's where every player wants to be at the end of the season. I'm glad it's worked out this way.''

Tarnstrom, 31, and the Penguins were going nowhere - that was obvious 40 games into the schedule - but with the Oilers guaranteeing themselves a post-season spot Thursday, he's been rescued from playoff purgatory.

The same goes for Jaroslav Spacek, who was obtained from Chicago the same day as Tarnstrom came from Pittsburgh, as well as Sergei Samsonov and Dwayne Roloson, both acquired at the trade deadline.

"It's been a great time since I got here,'' said Tarnstrom. "It's a great bunch of guys. I really feel like one of the guys.

"In playoffs, anything can happen and I think we've got a team here that can beat any team. We've been playing well against the good teams, so whatever team we get, I think we have a great chance to win.''

While Tarnstrom hasn't made the same splash as Spacek or Samsonov, he's fit in rather nicely and has tallied 1-3-4 in 21 games since the trade. He played alongside Marc-Andre Bergeron Thursday after coach Craig MacTavish juggled his forward lines and defensive pairings.

"I just try to do my job,'' Tarnstrom said.

"When it's done, that's it. It's an adjustment to play with different players, but as long as it helps the team, that's fine by me. Whatever they want me to do.''


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