SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers feel for ex-teammate

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Edmonton Oilers were grieving with one of their own yesterday.

On Sunday, the four-year-old son of former Oilers goaltender Jussi Markkanen died after falling from a four-storey window in Moscow.

"I feel so bad for (Jussi) right now," said current Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

"It's a tough situation where you're out of your own country and you are doing stuff for your family, and something like that happens. It's a pure tragedy."

Markkanen played five seasons with the Oilers, backing up Roloson in his final year.

"Having played in Finland during the lockout, I know how his countrymen will be, rallying around him and supporting him any way they can," Roloson said. "Hopefully he knows that over here he has the same support."

Markkanen is currently playing for CSKA Moscow. According to a newspaper report in Russia, four-year-old Oli-Matias Markkanen climbed up on a windowsill while playing with his brother and fell. He died instantly.

His mother, Sanna, was home at the time.

"It's the worst kind of news you can possibly have," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"He's a great guy with a great family. It's tough because he meant a lot to the organization and it's the worst type of news you could ever hear."

Strudwick's ready

Jason Strudwick was brought in by the Oilers to fill a role. But exactly what that role will be has yet to be determined.

"At the end of the day we're all hockey players," Strudwick said yesterday.

"Whatever a guy has to do to get in the lineup, I think everybody is the same, we'll all play that position."

Strudwick, 33, is a local product who can play both on defence or up front. Last season the six-foot-four, 225-pounder had a goal and an assist in 52 games with the New York Rangers.

"The biggest thing that stands out right away is the collective team speed," Strudwick said.

"There is just a lot of speed here, not just from the forwards but from the defencemen as well.

"It's something that's going to help us out a lot. And for our defencemen it's good to practise with guys who are good skaters."


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