He'd been out of the lineup so long, there were questions as to whether Mike Comrie would ever get back on ice.
On Thursday night, however, the local product made his long awaited return in a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
"It's a lot more fun playing than it is watching," Comrie said. "From a personal standpoint, I've always enjoyed playing this game, I've always had a passion for it. Putting that Oiler uniform on again was exciting."
Comrie, 29, had not played since Nov. 16. He was diagnosed with mononucleosis and missed 25 games. Thursday, he skated on a line with Ryan Potulny and Gilbert Brule, who himself was coming back from an illness.
"I felt pretty good out there," Comrie said. "I have to try and move my feet a little more. After missing a couple of months, it's going to take a game or two to get back. I thought our line created some chances, although we had a tough one scored on us on a rush on a broken play."
Comrie finished minus-one on the night, having played just over 13 minutes, which included power play time.
He also got in a dustup with Blues defenceman Mike Weaver, although apparently not enough punches were thrown to classify it as a fight as both players received roughing minors.
"I think (referee) Kerry Fraser was doing us a favour and letting us back on the ice quicker than we probably should have," Comrie said. "It was kind of a broken play where the puck got caught up in his equipment. I pushed him so it would fall out -- he kind of took exception and then our gloves came off."
Prior to getting sick, Comrie was on pace for a 20-goal season with five goals and three assists in 16 games.
"It was one of those games where you get thrown into the fire and it's what you want as a player," Comrie said. "We would have like to have had more chances as a line. We're three guys that should chip in offensively. We had some chances and we made some plays and you always want to score goals."
His line was caught up ice in the third period when Alexander Steen scored the game winner. Darryl Sydor intercepted a pass and sent Steen in on a two-on-one rush. The Blues centre fired a shot that beat Jeff Deslauriers. The goal came early in the period, but the Oilers couldn't tie it.