It's your move, Kevin

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

So, Kevin Lowe.

It's been days.

It's been so long since Chris Pronger and Michael Peca, we've almost had time to memorize where everybody else went. OK, maybe we need another week for that.

For Edmonton fans, getting Pronger and Peca on back-to-back days was like having Christmas and then a birthday on Boxing Day. But what happens next might mean everything when it comes to the Happy New Year.

How is Kevin Lowe going to spend that last $5 million US? OK, maybe my math and his math don't mesh. Lowe has avoided producing that number like Chris Pronger had asked if he could wear No. 4. But there's loot left over.

And while Lowe is probably the most popular person in Edmonton since he delivered Pronger and Peca to prove to people in the Heartland of Hockey that happy days are here again, they'll only be happy days if they translate to happy days in May.

Can you do that with Ty Conklin and Jussi Markkanen in goal? Can you do that with Shawn Horcoff as your first-line centre?

Aren't there still a few shopping days to go?

Is Lowe's strategy now to use a little of the remaining money from the $33-million US budget to get the players with qualifying offers and others signed up long term?

Maybe if you make that 24% haircut a little less off the top for long-term deals, you'll have a happier team which wants to stay together and play together.

MAKES SENSE NOW

Maybe it makes sense now that Lowe has hit the home run to sit back and try to score singles.

Mark Messier? The fans would love it if Lowe brought his old roommate home to break Gordie Howe's games-played record and skate off into the sunset wearing an Oilers uniform. Maybe Messier might do it for a million.

But there's no lack of leadership on this team now.

And the only way Messier could be effective is for Craig MacTavish and Lowe to be able to restrict his ice time and his schedule. Messier is now older than most of the rules and he hasn't played in almost a year and a half.

If Lowe goes for the feel-good move, he and MacTavish, who virtually took over the team from Mike Keenan to win the 1994 Stanley Cup in New York, better be able to tell Messier 'You're done' if it's obvious to everyone.

Maybe you wait around to see who has put themselves in salary-cap problems and make a deal from strength instead of because it would feel good one more time.

Maybe you sit through Christmas and Boxing Day and wait for stuff to happen, wait for the general managers who used to be brilliant when they had $50-$60 million to work with, suddenly get stupid trying to appear not to be fiddling while Rome burns.

Maybe you take it all the way through to the trade deadline, when you have a lot better idea that you're going to have playoff games and gates, to make moves to take on salary like the ones which brought Pronger and Peca here.

Maybe you wait to find out if Conklin can come back and look like he has at the World Hockey Championships while he was away.

Maybe you wait to find out if Horcoff can do what he did last year in the Swedish Elite League.

Maybe you wait and find out if Alex Hemsky has taken that large leap toward his future as it appeared he did this year in the Czech Elite League playoffs and the World Hockey Championships.

Maybe you wait until the Oilers prove themselves with wins in the standings, and players around the league get the idea that maybe the Oilers really could win a Stanley Cup again sometime soon.

FELL IN LOVE

Maybe you wait until Pronger and Peca get out word about how much they're enjoying playing before capacity crowds in a real hockey city, which fell in love with them for coming instead of going.

Maybe you wait to find out if the power play still sucks.

Maybe Lowe's best move now is to make no move at all.

Me? I don't think Kevin Lowe is going to win a Stanley Cup with Conklin or Markkenen.

Somehow, some way, I'd get a goalie.


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