Gagner 'happy' with first game back

Edmonton Oilers' Sam Gagner is sandwiched between New York Rangers' Ryan McDonagh (L) and Ruslan...

Edmonton Oilers' Sam Gagner is sandwiched between New York Rangers' Ryan McDonagh (L) and Ruslan Fedotenko (R) during their game in Edmonton on October 22, 2011. (REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber)

Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

EDMONTON - Hows the ankle? And hows the wing?

Those were the two obvious questions for Sam Gagner upon returning to the lineup Saturday after a high ankle sprain kept him out of the first six games of the season and a crowd at centre shifted him over to right wing.

I felt pretty good, it held up throughout the whole game, said Gagner. A few minor tweaks here and there but Im happy with the way things went for the first game.

Im not sure how much I played (12 minutes), but it felt like 30. I havent played in a league game in about six months, and pre-season in a month.

The move to the right side with Eric Belanger and Magnus Paajarvi took some adjusting, too.

You have to adapt mentally, said Gagner, a centre by trade. You have to really focus on moving your feet and I found at times that I was caught kind of standing still, but thats part of the process. Next game I think Ill be more comfortable and continue to grow there.

Whether the position change is long term or short term remains to be seen, but Gagner says hes fine with wherever they want him.

I think we have a great group here and I think were going to win here a lot sooner than people expect. Thats something that as a player you want to be a part of, and you want to be a big part of. No matter where the coaches think Im best suited to be a big part of the winning core, thats fine by me.

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/SUN_TYCHKOWSKI


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