Comrie 'excited' to be with Senators

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

Mike Comrie's to-do list is almost as long as the distinctively coloured Warrior OMac Daddy' he uses on the ice.

And that's almost as long as he is.

"Let's see now ... there are 27 voice messages here," the diminutive centre said while checking his cellphone after his first practice with the Senators yesterday morning.

"Yeah, I have a house in Phoenix. But I just jumped on a plane and was here at 4 p.m. (Wednesday). The last thing I've had a chance to think of is that little house thing."

Comrie, who had two assists and charged the power play in a 6-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres mere hours after his arrival, already knew guys like Dany Heatley, Peter Schaefer and Martin Gerber as former international and Swedish league teammates.

But settling in with any new club should at least be getting easier for the 26-year-old Edmonton native. In being obtained by the Senators for Russian prospect Alexei Kaigorodov, Comrie is pulling on his fourth different NHL jersey in seven seasons.

Sure he's approaching unrestricted free agency and looking at a raise from his current salary of $3 million US, but why is such an offensively talented player moved so often?

In 346 career games, Comrie has 110 goals and 129 assists. That kind of production, well, like the Mac Daddy, just doesn't grow on trees.

"I don't know ... you'd have to ask him," Senators coach Bryan Murray said when asked why Comrie -- whom he almost acquired in exchange for Corey Perry and draft picks when he was GM in Anaheim in 2003 -- has been unable to stay in one place.

"His agent?" Murray added with a laugh.

The general belief is that Comrie didn't fit into the Coyotes' future plans and they wanted to move him to free up some salary-cap space, although there's probably a little more to it than that. Comrie attributes it to the new CBA and the perils of signing one-year contracts.

"You have to realize you could have the opportunity to be traded," he said. "Trades are part of our business."

Comrie also says he was sent from Philadelphia to Phoenix (for Sean Burke, Branko Radivojevic and Ben Eager) after just 21 games as a Flyer simply because the team needed a fix for its goaltending woes.

But the Oilers felt they could no longer afford Comrie when -- after their star sat out part of the 2002-03 season -- they dealt him to the Flyers for Jeff Woywitka and draft picks they turned into L

ondon Knights stars Robbie Schremp and Dany Syvret. Once a local hero in his home town, Comrie is now booed lustily whenever he returns to Edmonton.

Along with Peter Pocklington and Chris Pronger, he is viewed as one of the most hated men in Oilers history.

Comrie, however, does not take it personally.

"I think if you asked five people in the stands there why they boo me, they'd all probably have different reasons," he said. "I grew up in Edmonton. I watched guys come and go. I was doing the same thing when they came back.

"I think it's more about the pride of the people, and the pride they have in the city ... how they feel it should be an honour for guys to play in the NHL, in a city they grew up in. But things sometimes happen."

Although he won't say he's tired of moving around N that he'd really love to grow some roots N Comrie appears genuinely excited about being back in Canada.

"Playing three years in Edmonton, I know the excitement and love of hockey in Canada," said Comrie. "But being away from it for three years in Phoenix ... it's different.

"It really helps a player focus on the game.

"Edmonton was a real challenge, being from there, and I was young. I'm six years older now. You grow up a lot.

"Life is full of experiences and I'm in a situation that I feel very fortunate to be in, with a great team. I'm excited to be here."


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