LOS ANGELES -- Perhaps more than his experience and his offensive ability, Mike Comrie's biggest contribution to the Edmonton Oilers might be his competitiveness.
It's obvious the guy hates losing. And at times during this road trip, he's been one of the few players willing to do something about it.
"I think it's one of those things that's instilled in you as a kid," Comrie said. "We were a pretty competitive family and no matter what we were doing, none of us ever wanted to lose. It didn't matter whether it was cards or playing ping-pong, you didn't want to lose. I think that carries into hockey.
"At this level you can never get rid of that mentality. Losing is something that you never want to get used to."
The Edmonton Oilers have been doing a lot of losing this season, more than they have at any point in their franchise history.
They went into Thursday's game against the Los Angeles Kings on a four-game losing skid and had dropped 24 of their previous 27 games.
Yet losing has a tendency to reveal a player's true character and it's evident Comrie has continued to fight the fight, at times literally.
"He's a veteran and he recognizes that at certain times you have to do something that's a little bit extraordinary," said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn.
"He made a big block (Wednesday) night after one of our defencemen missed a play. So he's doing some things to help try and win a hockey game, and that's the kind of attitude you need out of your veterans, where they'll do anything they can to help and Mike's been doing that the last couple of nights."
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the Oilers' woes this season is certain players' indifference toward their situation.
Comrie at least looks upset, he continues to work hard, he's yapping at opponents and he's dropping the gloves.
In the Oilers' 6-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, Comrie plastered Petr Prucha into the boards and then went on to beat him up in the ensuing fight.
"Certainly he's not a guy that I don't necessarily want dropping the gloves," said Quinn.
"But he elected to do that and he did pretty well. He's certainly shown a competitive side that we knew existed."
Comrie's signing this summer may have been questioned due to the fact he was not the big, hulking centre the Oilers were in desperate need of heading into the season.
Then his bout with mononucleosis affected his offensive output.
But now that he's healthy, Comrie is becoming one of the veterans to look up to, and it would probably be in the Oilers' best interest to bring him back next season having signed just a one-year deal. It's his approach to the situation that the younger players on the squad should be mimicking. If you lose, do it putting up a fight.
"I came into this league with some guys that I could really look up to and felt that I was a part of an organization that had a lot of pride and had a lot of players that wanted to win," Comrie said. "Just because we have had a challenging year this year we still want to play hard and play for each other. If that means leading by example by just trying to do the right things, then you have to do that as a teammate."