SUN Hockey Pool

Tarnstrom playing waiting game

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:03 PM ET

Dick Tarnstrom has been trying to get his head in the game for nearly a month.

He'd been playing his best hockey of the season when six-foot-three, 246-pound Chicago blueliner Dustin Byfuglien crushed him into the boards Nov. 24.

Since that hit, Tarnstrom's struggled to brush the cobwebs from his concussion.

So he sat. And sat some more. Waiting for things to get better.

"It's a weird feeling," said the veteran defenceman. "You feel OK, but at the same time you're so tired. Then one day I just felt like a new human being. As soon as I woke up I felt great."

ACTIVATED TO SIT

With that, the Oilers activated him from injured reserve. And he sat some more. Last night was his 12th straight game in the press box.

The Oilers were rolling, and Sheldon Souray came back while he was gone, so even though Tarnstrom is finally healthy, he hasn't been able to crack the lineup. As the team picks up speed without him, he has to wait for a chance to jump back on the train.

"I'm ready to go," he said, adding he understands the situation. "The guys have been winning, so there's no sense changing. But it's tough; I finally get my game going and I have to get injured. It's part of the game, though.

"It's great to see our guys coming together and really playing for each other the last couple of weeks.

"We have something really good going here."

Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said he'd like to get Tarnstrom back in the lineup sooner than later.

HESITANT TO CHANGE

"When a team is winning you're hesitant to make changes on the back end," said MacTavish. "But I think it's important that he get in before Christmas."

Winger Zack Stortini, meanwhile, has been sitting out for five straight games now. He's gone from checking Sidney Crosby to waiting to wondering when he'll get his next shift.

"I've been in this situation before in my career, it's important for me to be positive."


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