The stories get more interesting for Dean Arsene each time he gets recalled from the minors.
On Wednesday, the Edmonton Oilers found themselves short a pair of defencemen having dealt Lubomir Visnovsky and Steve Staios just prior to the NHL trade deadline.
So an emergency call went out to Arsene and Johan Motin in Springfield to drop everything and get on a plane to Chicago to face the Blackhawks. Motin made it in time to make his NHL debut. Arsene was late.
“I got told after practice (Wednesday) that I was called up, and unfortunately, there was only one seat on the first flight out and Johan got it,” said Arsene.
“So I had to take the next one. By the time I got my bags and everything at the airport in Chicago and was in the cab, it was already 7 p.m. The traffic was really stop and go, so it took me a while to get to the rink, and I ended up getting there midway through the first period.
“I had to try and warm-up quickly and get ready to get out there. It was unfortunate there was no room available on the first flight. It’s not the ideal way to play the best team in the league, but I was just happy to be there.”
The Oilers played short for the first period as Tom Gilbert, Jason Strudwick, Theo Peckham, Taylor Chorney and Motin made up the defensive corps.
Peckham, Chorney and Motin had all been in Springfield the previous week playing with the Falcons during the Olympic break. So was starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk, for that matter. Motin and Arsene returned to Springfield following Wednesday’s contest.
“We were laughing about it before the game,” Dubnyk said. “I told them that at least I should be familiar with them, having played with them for the last two weeks. But I thought they played well, they battled hard, it would be tough to play against any team when you’re inexperienced like that. It’s never easy, never mind against these guys, but I thought they battled hard.”
Arsene eventually did show up, played just over 10 minutes, took two penalties and finished with a plus-one rating.
“I don’t even remember the last time I showed up late for a game, maybe when I forgot some equipment or something at home when I was 10,” he said. “But I didn’t have time to think, I just had to try and get here and get right in the mix.”
Motin, meanwhile, had a little more time to soak it all in, even though he too was caught off guard by the call-up.
“I got the call around 1 p.m. and I had an hour to catch the plane, so it was really hectic,” Motin said. “But it was great to be able to come here and play my first NHL game. It was unbelievable. It was a fun experience. I was nervous, probably for the whole day, but it was a good experience, it was a nice first day.”
The Oilers’ fourth-round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Motin, 20, finished with just over 14 minutes of ice time and a minus-one rating.
It wasn’t the ideal way for the native of Karlskoga, Sweden, to play his first NHL game, but he’ll take it.
“I would have taken anything just to get here. It was unbelievable and it was a dream come true,” he said. “Playing here it was a great crowd and a great atmosphere. I didn’t even know guys got traded. I just hurried to get down here and when I was here, I just played my game and see what happened.”