SUN Hockey Pool

Comrie not giving up on Oilers

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

EDMONTON — For most of this season, Pat Quinn didn’t have access to a hammer - probably because it was being used to pound nails into the Edmonton Oilers coffin.

If Mike Comrie (who’s been out two months with mono) and Gilbert Brule (who hit for the flu cycle), are back Thursday against St. Louis, Quinn will finally have a say in who plays, and who doesn’t, rather than being forced to pencil in whoever’s healthy.

He would have loved to staple a few players to the pine over the course of Edmonton’s recent collapse, but simply didn’t have enough bodies to even threaten anyone with the press box.

Now he does.

“We’ll have two out Thursday night,” he said. “If two are coming in, there’s going to be two out, it’s simple math. I don’t know who the two are yet, because we can take a few guys.”

That might spring the dressing room to attention because the only thing more embarrassing than being on a last place team is being a healthy scratch on a last place team.

“You always talk about having a little bit of a hammer,” said Quinn. “If someone isn’t playing well you can always put them on the bench or up in the stands as a sort of incentive, or disincentive.

“We haven’t had that luxury this year at all. Two days ago we had a third of our lineup who should have been out. This will give us a little bit of room here.

“They know we didn’t have that hammer early on, right from day one we were short in our roster. It’s been a pretty good comfort zone on a team that’s lost so many games, you don’t have to worry about not playing.

“This is a way to pass on that extra message.”

Comrie, who skated on a line with Brule and Ryan Potulny can’t wait to get back.

“It’s been longer than I expected,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to wake up one day and the light switch is going to go on and you’re going to feel 100 per cent, but I’ve practised pretty hard for the past few days, worked out pretty hard.

“I’ve wanted to play for a month now.”

He made a difference for Edmonton when he was healthy, putting up six points in his first nine games, but then came the flu and the mono and that was the last we saw of him.

He’s been out a long time, since Nov. 16, but is itching to try and make an impact.

“You have to have the mentality that you’re going to come back and play hard and try to chip in,” he said. “I’m here to try and do that. When you’re coming back and starting to feel healthy again, the mentality is to come in and score some goals and bring some energy.”

His was such a good story, the homecoming, patching things with Kevin Lowe, getting off to a great start, winning back the fans, the Oilers in the playoff mix.

Now he comes back to this, doom and gloom with the Oilers in 30th.

“We all have a sense of pride, we’re proud individuals, we want to represent this organization,” he said. “I don’t think you can look at the standings and give up complete hope. You have to go out and be a good player and a guy your teammates can count on.

“We all still expect a lot out of each other. We’d all like to start winning some games.”


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