Bench rider

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

ST. PAUL, Min. -- Jeff Deslauriers isn't expected to do anything other than ride the bench and face a lot of rubber in practice - not exactly glamorous work, but you won't catch him complaining.

"It's always a good thing to be called up, be around the guys," he said. "It's great. I come here to do my thing, to practice 100%, show that I'm a hard-working guy. That's what I'm going to do."

Still, there are always going to be some butterflies when you're one crease crash away from stepping into the game, with the entire season riding on your shoulders.

"You never know," said Deslauriers, Edmonton's second pick, 31st overall in the 2002 entry draft. "I'm going to be ready all the time, because you never know what's going to happen. If I have to jump in, I'm going to jump in. It's my job to be ready as a good professional."

After bouncing all over the minors when the Oilers were without an AHL franchise of their own, Deslauriers is glad to finally have some stability in Springfield.

"I think it's a big difference," he said. "All the guys are in the same place, so it's better for the scouts. And it's good for the players. It creates good chemistry for all the guys in the organization.

"With ice time, it's not the same when you're in another team's (farm system)."


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