Mr. Hot & Cold

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

Good. Bad. Hot. Cold. Blue-line. Press box.

Former Oiler Marc Andre Bergeron has been running the whole gamut since arriving on Long Island. Jaw dropping one game. Head scratching the next.

"Like every other player he's had some ups and downs so far," said Islanders coach Ted Nolan. "We sat him out for a number of games but since he's been back the last four or five games he's playing like he did when we got him last year. When he skates and moves the puck and shoots he's a pretty impressive player."

And when he's not, he isn't.

"He was kind of standing around, not moving the puck, not skating," said Nolan, who's dressed Bergeron for 26 of New York's 40 games this year.

"When players who know how to skate and move the puck don't do it ... it's not their game. The last three or four he's been doing all that for us."

Bergeron's 14 points and minus-4 rating still put him ahead of the guy he was traded for (Denis Grebeshkov has four points and is minus 10), but he knows he has to prove he can be counted on game in and game out.

"It's a roller-coaster ride," admitted the 27-year-old. "It's been a tough year. I'm playing good, I'm playing bad, I'm playing good ... lately it's been better."

Since returning to the lineup after five games in the press box he has three goals in four games. He scored three in his first 20.

"I need to be more consistent," he said. "I've played some great games and I've played some games where 'I'm holy cow, why did this happen?' I talked with Teddy a few times and he's 'How can you play so good one game and so bad in another?'

"And it's true. I think I'm at an age where I need to realize that when I don't feel as good, simplify my game and be reliable."

TRADE PARTNERS MEET: This is the first meeting between the teams since the Oilers traded Ryan Smyth to the Islanders for Robert Nilsson, Ryan O'Marra and a first-round draft pick that turned into WHL defenceman Alex Plante. Nilsson was a healthy scratch last game, O'Marra spent most of the year in the ECHL before getting promoted to Springfield and Plante has been out all year with injuries.

Nolan knows Nilsson well from his Islander days and says there's a player in there if the Oilers can draw it out. "Nilsson certainly has the skill level, but skill without the will is tough sometimes," said Nolan.

"Once he finds that consistency ... he's a heck of a player. I hope things work out for him. We watched him in the American League do some magical things with the puck, but sometimes all that gyration doesn't accomplish very much."


Photos