SUN Hockey Pool

Winchester in tough to land a spot

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:14 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- By virtue of a one-way contract and openings in the forward lines of the Edmonton Oilers, Brad Winchester had a roster spot to lose at training camp last season. That was then and this is now.

After playing in six of the Oilers first seven pre-season games, the big winger from Wisconsin has just one goal to show for his efforts and is by no means a cinch to stick when Craig MacTavish pencils in his final roster Monday. Quite the contrary.

MacTavish will provide Oilers fans a reasonable facsimile of his season-opening line-up tonight and Winchester is nowhere to be found.

Right now, he's just hoping to hang on to spot in the pressbox as one of two extra forwards - and that will be a longshot when MacTavish hands out pink slips to the minors this morning.

"You just try to focus on your own game and try to get better through camp," said Winchester, who was given no inside track this time around and really hasn't contested a job.

The 25-year-old didn't record a point or a shot and finished even in 12:47 of playing time in Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Coyotes in Phoenix.

That, on a night three of the players he's been vying for a roster spot with did much to catch MacTavish's eye.

Suffice to say, any edge he did have in the coach's books is gone.

"You can't worry about it," Winchester said. "You can't think about it too much and try to read between the lines.

"You just have to go out and play. It sounds cliche, but you just have to try to worry about the things you can control."


Videos

Photos