SUN Hockey Pool

Grebeshkov going for gold

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 12:46 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- Denis Grebeshkov was excited and relieved at the same time.

The Edmonton Oilers defenceman, who has been a member of the Russian national team for the past three years, is getting an opportunity to go after the biggest prize in international hockey.

On Friday, Grebeshkov was named to the Russian Olympic team.

"It's huge for me, it's something I was waiting for," Grebeshkov said.

"I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous before they announced the team. But now that it's been announced, I'm pretty happy."

Grebeshkov already has a pair of gold medals from back-to-back world championships. He also won a pair of world junior titles with Russia.

This would be the bigger prize.

"It comes around once every four years which makes it really special, so the Olympics are huge back home as they are anywhere. It is a big thing," he said.

"There is always lots of pressure, whether it's Russia or Canada -- especially at the Olympics.

"When you're representing your country you always want to win.

The news perhaps couldn't have come at a better time for Grebeshkov and the Oilers.

Since returning from a knee injury, the native of Yaroslavl, Russia has struggled and the Oilers have yet to win a game with him in the lineup.

"I don't think I'm playing as well as I was playing before I got injured," Grebeshkov said. "But at the same time, I was out for a month, so the first few games, it took me a while to get back to my game.

"But I just have to try and get my game back. I think sometimes I'm trying to do more than I should be."

Potulny's Christmas return an adventure

Ryan Potulny decided to be at home over the Christmas break and it nearly cost him.

The Edmonton Oilers forward had difficulties getting back to the team following his two days off for the holidays.

Yesterday Potulny arrived late for the morning skate and got on the ice only after all of his other teammates had stepped off.

"I went back home to Grand Forks (North Dakota) and had problems getting out of there," Potulny said. "We had a flight out of Winnipeg on Christmas Day and then driving there we found out all the roads were shutdown halfway there because of the weather.

"We turned around and got to the Grand Forks airport and booked a flight, but that one couldn't go, because the weather was too bad. The next one was a 5 p.m. flight. That one got out to the runway, but it was too cold and something broke down and they had a mechanical problem.

"Finally I got to Minneapolis, but it was too late to find a connector so I had to fly out (Saturday) morning."

- Van Diest


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