Rookies getting an education

Edmonton's Dustin Penner (left, 27) and Ales Hemsky take part in the pre-game warmup during the...

Edmonton's Dustin Penner (left, 27) and Ales Hemsky take part in the pre-game warmup during the Edmonton Oilers game against the Chicago Blackhawks at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Wednesday, February 9, 2011. (CODIE MCLACHLAN/QMI AGENCY)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:15 AM ET

EDMONTON - They’re kids. This is their very first rodeo.

They can’t help but look at Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky out of the sides of their eyes to see how they’re handling this.

With so many deals already having been done prior to the Monday NHL trade deadline, the focus on possible big trades still out there are now spotlighting Hemsky and Penner not just locally but throughout the entire league.

A kid like Taylor Hall can’t help but take the temperature of the room every day he shows up for a practice or a morning skate. He can’t help but look around and read faces even after a game is played and the Edmonton Oilers lose 5-0 to the St. Louis Blues led by Chris Stewart with two goals, his fifth and sixth since he was dealt with Kevin Shattenkirk just the other day.

Obviously Hall doesn’t have to worry about being traded being the No. 1 pick in the draft ...

“There was just a No. 1 pick traded,” the 19-year-old interrupted, referring to 2006 first pick Erik Johnson who went to the Colorado Avalanche in the above-mentioned deal.

“I’ve never been through anything like this before.

“It’s tough. A lot of guys have been rumoured to be traded. Who knows?

“As a player, you hear every rumour. You need to be tough. It’s something we’ve never experienced before.

“You can’t help but think about it. I think the way a player should think about it is if there is a chance you’re going to be traded going into the last couple of games before the trade deadline, make sure to play ’em good.”

When it comes to Hemsky and Penner, Hall says he thinks the players are pretty much unanimous.

“We want to have both of those guys here as long as we can.”

Penner’s name has come up in more than one scenario including one which won’t go away, a deal with Atlanta involving Zach Bogosian.

And while Dean Lombardi and Steve Tambellini have been dragging their feet all week while everybody else has been doing deals, an Alex Hemsky for a combination of Los Angeles Kings top prospects such as goaltender Jonathan Bernier with names like Colten Teubert, Derek Forbort also mentioned — but not yet Braden Schenn — have been bouncing around all week.

Oilers’ Defenceman Ladislav Smid’s name won’t go away from the trade talk either.

Jim Vandermeer is being mentioned.

Who knows how this is all going to shake down.

But it’s been a study as the Oilers won four of five before returning home from a 5-1 win in Colorado to be shutout at home for the third time this season in a game in which they actually outshot St. Louis 39-22 but played what coach Tom Renney described as “vanilla” hockey.

Renney said whatever it was that happened to his hockey club this night, he doesn’t think it was because one team had already done the big deadline deal while the other was waiting for possibly the double whammy.

“As a group they’ve handled it pretty well,” he said.

Renney said the trade deadline approaching was a significant part of GM Steve Tambellini’s speech to the team which launched the short run of success which came close to getting them out of 30th place.

“The gist of Steve’s comments were to take a deep breath and play. And like I say they’ve handled it pretty well. They are still connected to the needs of the night.

“The specific guys who have had their names bandied about have handled it very well.

“This is what we are and we play as hard as we can from our heads to our toes. It’s still a pretty good dressing room with new dynamics.”

Renney knows that Hall, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark are all getting an education here as the countdown to the Monday deadline continues.

So far, he thinks the veterans that have been involved in the trade talk have been very good examples to them.

“It’ll be interesting to talk to them about what they thought about going through it the first time after the deadline, regardless what happens here.”

Most of the time it’s a wonderful life playing in the NHL. But this week it’s a business and in a lot of wayd that business is a meat market.

Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos