SUN Hockey Pool

Pouliot keeps on trying

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

PHOENIX -- Four years seems like a long, long time when you spend it chasing a dream that always seems just out of reach.

To Marc Pouliot, it seems like an eternity.

"The first two times I was cut, for sure it was disappointing," said Pouliot, who's been trying to crack Craig MacTavish's lineup since the Oilers made him their first round draft pick (22nd overall) in 2003.

"But I wasn't too down about it because I was young and didn't expect to make it. But the last two (cuts), especially last year, that was tough, a real disappointment."

BEEN A LONG TIME

It's seemed like forever since Edmonton picked him, so long ago that he wore out one of his names waiting to make this team. Marc-Antoine Pouliot is now just Marc Pouliot.

He's still just 22, but now in his fifth Oilers training camp, his third as a pro, he's finally gaining ground on that dream of his.

"It's starting to get better," said Pouliot, who played 46 games for Edmonton last year, mostly in the second half when all the injuries hit, totalling 11 points. "I'm used to playing centre, I have to adjust a bit (to the right wing), but I feel better. It's a different game, I'm not going to lie. I'm just trying to get used to it and get comfortable."

FOUR TRIES, NO LUCK

It's something he could never do in his first four tries.

"One of the things you learn and pass on is the value of persistence and perseverance," said head coach Craig MacTavish, who has Pouliot, a first line centre most of his life, pencilled in somewhere on the third or fourth line wing.

Pouliot admits to almost getting gun-shy about camp.

"You have your ups and downs," he said.

"I never thought I wouldn't make it, but your confidence is up and down.

"Sometimes you don't feel like you're a very good player. And sometimes, when your confidence is up, you think you can be here and produce."


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