SUN Hockey Pool

Wide-eyed guys

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:43 PM ET

Patrick Thoresen had a Norwegian camera crew following him around on Thursday.

The Edmonton Oilers rookie is big news back home.

Thoresen was one of five players who made his Oilers regular-season debut in a 3-1 win over the Flames.

He was also one of two making his NHL debut. Ladislav Smid was the other.

'UNREAL' EXPERIENCE

"It was unreal," Thoresen said yesterday. "I had goose bumps from head to toe and it was my greatest hockey memory so far in my life. It was a lot of fun."

Thoresen, 22, a native of Oslo, Norway, was signed by the Oilers as a free agent this summer.

To everyone's surprise, he played well enough in the pre-season to earn a spot on the roster. A year ago, Thoresen was playing in Sweden.

"I had some butterflies in my stomach, but when I stepped on the ice through the oil (derrick) on the ice, I just got pumped up and ready to go to do the job I'm here for," Thoresen said.

"I watched some playoff games last year. I knew it was going to be loud."

Thoresen finished the game even, having played just over seven minutes. He also had one shot and took the game's first penalty.

All of which undoubtedly made the news back in Norway.

"It's a big deal for everybody back home to watch some hockey on the sports news," Thoresen said. "It's great for me and it's great for hockey back home."

SMID LOGGED 11 MINUTES

Smid, 20, who came to the Oilers as part of the Chris Pronger trade, played just under 11 minutes on the blue-line against the Flames.

Last year Smid played the entire season with Portland in the American Hockey League.

"It was great. I was nervous before the game, but during the game it was okay," Smid said. "The guys helped me out before the beginning of the game. But it was great. We had only one option last night, which was to win. We made it, so it was great.

"I think the first shift I was a little nervous, but I was able to make some quick plays and that was the key."

Lupul, the other equation in the Pronger trade was also making his Oilers' regular-season debut.

His, however, was highly anticipated, having scored 28 goals with Anaheim last season.

"It was good. I'm kind of happy it's over," Lupul said. "There was a lot of talk leading up to it, but it was nice to get it over and get the win and now we can get into the swing of things."

Lupul played on the Oilers top line with Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth. Apart from a couple of shots on goal, he had a quiet night.

"It was good coming out on the ice," said the Fort Saskatchewan product.

"I think I was a little bit tentative out there, especially at the start.

"I made a couple of poor plays. I didn't feel too nervous, but I kind of was playing like I was."


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