SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers haven't given up on Brule: Tambellini

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:55 AM ET

EDMONTON - Steve Tambellini is hoping he hasnt seen the last of Gilbert Brule.

The talented but inconsistent and oft-injured centre cleared waivers Tuesday teams like his upside but were scared away by the $1.85-million contract and will now begin the season in the AHL with Oklahoma City.

Where he goes from there will depend on what he does with the opportunity, but if he can rediscover the form that made him a first-round draft pick, or even the form that made him a 17 goal scorer in the NHL, theyd love him back.

Who wouldnt?

Hes a talented young man who plays with an edge and has shown he can score goals at this level, said Tambellini after the Oilers wrapped up their practice in Jasper. He just needs to get back and play the type of minutes he needs to play, to re-establish himself and get his confidence back.

Right now he didnt have that chance here, hopefully he gets that chance with Todd Nelson in Oklahoma City. I havent given up on him.

Josh Green, Ryan OMarra and Ryan Kesler also cleared waivers and will be joining Brule in the AHL.

SMID ON ICE: With the Oilers woefully short of healthy defenceman, Ladislav Smid provided some hope Tuesday when he went for a skate and then hit the weight room both significant steps for a guy recovering from a sprained shoulder.

Its getting better every day, so well see, said Smid, who went down in the pre-season game that also claimed defenceman Taylor Chorney and Taylor Fedun. My goal is to be ready for the home opener. Im not sure yet if I can make it there but Im feeling better and better every day. I skated with a coach today before practice, had a pretty good workout, too, and Im feeling pretty good.

Smid hurt the same shoulder that gave him problems last year, but he doesnt think its becoming a chronic issue.

I played through it last year and over the summer it got good. It was pretty strong, this was just an unfortunate hit. I just have to do some rehab exercises and then Im confident Ill be able to get through the season without any problem.

NO TRADE IN WORKS: With four injured defencemen and only six healthy ones, some fans are waiting for Steve Tambellini to swing a deal for a blueline. He says its not likely.

Ive had discussions but nothing that makes sense for us right now, he said.

Trading for a depth defenceman doesnt make sense because they have a lot of those, and trading for a top pairing defenceman is practically impossible.

Our depth when were healthy is pretty good, said Tambellini. And if youre talking about a top 3 defenceman, I dont see that happening at this point. We are a little bit banged up right now, but by the sounds of it it shouldnt be that far away before we get a couple of them back.

THE BREAK OF SEAN: News that Rangers forward Sean Avery is on waivers isnt being met with any sympathy from Smid.

Too bad, said Smid, barely containing a chuckle.

Avery, of course, concussed the Edmonton defenceman when he jumped him last season in New York. Avery made like he didnt want to fight, and when Smid let down his guard, suckered him on the chin.

Hes effective at what he does, admitted . He irritates people. He does his job and hes a pretty decent player, too.

Tom Renney knows Avery from his coaching days with the Rangers and says theres a workable player underneath all the hassle.

Ive had a good relationship with Sean, Ive been able to work with him, and he for me, said Renney. Hes his own guy, hes got to deal with his circumstances as best he can and Im sure he will.

RE-FLEX ACTION: While many of his teammates changed their training regimen to put on muscle over the summer, Dubnyk says he didnt change his training habits.

Ive been happy over the last few years with the way things are going, said the guy they call Giraffe because of a 6-foot-6, 202 pound frame. I didnt change too much, just continue the good eating. Realistically Im never going to bulk up too much. My body type isnt exactly one for the beach.

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI


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