January 14, 2012
Barker back on blades
By DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Cam Barker was on the ice with his teammates on Friday, although he’s still not ready to get back in the lineup.
The Edmonton Oilers defenceman took part in the morning skate prior to the encounter against the Anaheim Ducks.
Barker is hoping to be ready to play shortly after the all-star break.
“I’ve been skating for about a week and-a-half now,” Barker said. “Things have been going pretty smoothly and it was nice to get out there with the guys.
“It seems like a long time and a lot of games missed, but at this point I’m happy to be back.”
Barker, who signed with the Oilers as a free agent this summer, has been out of the lineup since November with an ankle injury, which required surgery.
He was hurt trying to make a hit in a game in Boston.
“It was a strange play, I must have caught a rut,” Barker said. “It wasn’t something that wasn’t extremely painful, I thought my skate was broken at the time. It was kind of a strange thing the way it happened.
“I knew there was something wrong when it happened, but it didn’t hurt, it’s not like breaking a bone, it’s a ligament. When I took my boot off, though, I knew there was something wrong.”
Josh Green knows the drill.
The Oilers centre has been sent down and recalled more times in his career than he can remember.
The latest came Friday when brought up from Oklahoma City to play on the Oilers fourth line. It’s the second time this season the Oilers have recalled the veteran.
“It was a tough travel day (Thursday), just getting the call after practice and then having to panic to try and get all your stuff ready,” Green said. “The connection was through Houston and it’s quite a flight to get here from Houston, but it’s all worth it. You kind of block all that stuff out and keep your eye on the prize.”
Green’s first promotion came with the Oilers on the road.
He was back at Rexall Place for the first time since 2002 dating back to his first tour with the Oilers.
“I don’t know how long it’s been, it was a while ago,” Green said. “My last game here, I had a feeling I was going to get traded and I actually wasn’t even supposed to play that night. But Ethan Moreau, I think, got hurt and I had to play and then the next day I got traded.”
Alex Plante skated with the Oilers for the first time on Friday since being planted into the boards in Vancouver on Boxing Day.
The Oilers defenceman is recovering from a concussion after taking a hit from Canucks forward Dale Weise.
“I have gone back and looked at the hit just to see kind of what happened and how it played out,” Plante said. “I just took a quick look on YouTube and put it behind me.”
Plante was driven into the boards face-first by Weise who avoided a suspension on the play because, in the opinion of league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, the Oilers defenceman was making a pass simultaneous to the hit, which contributed to the severity of the hit.
“I think I could have had a quick look going back for the puck on the play,” Plante said. “Maybe if I did that, I would have been in a better braced position and I wouldn’t have gone into the boards so hard. But hockey is a fast game and you just have to live and learn.”
The Ducks turnaround recently seems to coincide with Bruce Boudreau’s increasing familiarity with his team.
The Ducks head coach started the season behind the Washington Capitals bench, but was hired by the Ducks shortly after being let go by his original team.
“I’m starting to get to know them and knowing their personalities and I think that’s important, knowing what makes them tick,” Boudreau said. “Some guys need a kick in the butt, while others need a pat on the back. You have to get to know them so you can treat them accordingly.”
It has been quite the adjustment for Boudreau, who had the quickest turnaround of an NHL coach in history, hired two days by the Ducks after being fired in Washington.
“The first game with the Ducks, I actually wrote down Washington as the team (on the lineup card),” Boudreau said. “(Referee) Dan O’Halloran came over and said to me, ‘You’re in Anaheim now’, I had forgotten.”