SUN Hockey Pool

Cole finally feeling 'right' before sweater ejection

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:52 AM ET

EDMONTON -- It was fun while it lasted.

Unfortunately for Erik Cole and the Edmonton Oilers, it didn't last very long.

In his first game since being shifted back to his natural position on the right side, Cole was on his way to his best night as an Oiler Saturday -- driving hard to the net, fighting off checks and turning speed and determination in a handful of great chances.

In short, he looked every bit the power forward the Oilers traded for last summer.

For all of 30 minutes. Then he got kicked out of the game for not having his sweater tied down in a fight with Mattias Ohlund.

"It was half of one game, but I definitely felt more comfortable," said Cole, who showed a lot more spark on the right side with Ethan Moreau and Marc Pouliot than he did on the left side with Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff.

"I was playing my game a bit more. It's a lot less over-thinking. It's more just reading and reacting to the play."

He made more things happen in half a game than he did in the first six.

"He's a handful there, for sure," said head coach Craig MacTavish, who could have used about 30 minutes more of that in Vancouver.

But the tie-down mistake hurt.

Cole was having the kind of night that could turn a game around.

For a guy who can count his career fights on one hand, what are the odds that on the rare night when he forgets to tie down, he gets into a scrap?

"It's a horrible mistake on my part," said Cole.

"For how I was playing, it was pretty tough to have to leave that game and not be able to help out."

With one goal and one assist in his first six games since coming over in the trade for Joni Pitkanen, Cole never seemed to click on the first line, where Hemsky would be better complemented by a one-shot scorer.


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