SUN Hockey Pool

Barker looks to make his mark with Oilers

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:59 AM ET

EDMONTON - Cam Barker believes the best revenge is living well, so heís more concerned about sticking with the Edmonton Oilers than he is about sticking it to the Minnesota Wild.

In a twist of scheduling fate, Barkerís first game as an Oiler came against the very team that kicked him to the curb last summer, but if the 25-year-old defenceman has a point to prove, itís not to them.

Itís to you, Edmonton.

ďThis is a huge opportunity, something Iím really looking forward to,Ē he said of his fresh start with the Oilers, an organization that knows a thing or two about starting over. ďIím feeling great and ready to really get after it and show people what I can do. Iím glad the way things turned out, you couldnít ask for a better opportunity here in Edmonton.Ē

Itís one he wants to make the best of after being traded by Chicago and bought out by the Wild in a span of three years, a humbling road for a guy who went third overall in 2004.

In what they hope is a mutually beneficial relationship, Barker is looking to prove that his best days are ahead of him, not behind, and the Oilers are looking for a 6-3, 223-pound defenceman with grit to match his skill.

Aside from that, Renney just wants to see a guy get his career back on track.

ďI coach human beings, I donít coach robots,Ē said Renney. ďWe all need second chances. My hope for Cam is that he really settles in to being a solid performer for us and can energize his career again.Ē

Why will this year be different than the one that got Barker bought out in Minnesota last year after five points in 52 games?

ďI really just got back to what I used to do,Ē said Barker. ďI was back in Winnipeg all summer training with my old trainer, the same guy I trained with when I was younger, the same guy I trained with the year I had 40 points. I feel unbelievable physically. Iím just in a good place and Iím excited for the opportunity.

ďI feel at home in Western Canada. I played hockey in Medicine Hat and I have some family out West. The familiarity is great. When you feel comfortable everything just seems to go better.Ē

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ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@Sunmedia.ca

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