Comrie steps up his play

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

A Senators rent-a-player who could draw interest from two to 10, to hell, as many as 29 teams in the off-season, wished last night to speed along the arrival of summer for the one GM that definitely won't consider signing him.

Mike Comrie just didn't want to say as much.

"I have a lot of close friends on that team," Comrie said after yesterday's morning skate, when asked if it would be special for him to help put the gasping-for-air Edmonton Oilers out of their misery.

"Including (GM) Kevin Lowe?" asked the smart aleck reporter.

"No," replied Comrie.

It's been a little more than three years since the small, slick centre decided he no longer wanted to play in his home town and asked Lowe to trade him. Three years since Lowe did, to Anaheim for Corey Perry and a couple of draft picks. Three years since Lowe asked Comrie to finalize the deal by giving the Oilers $2.5 million back. Three years since Comrie told him to take a hike. Three years since Lowe then pulled the plug on the Ducks deal and traded him to Philadelphia.

Three years since the two men spoke to each other for what will likely be the final time in their lives.

"Yeah, you'd love to score an overtime goal, we all want to win hockey games," said Comrie.

But against the Oilers? When they're trying to claw back into the playoff race? How large would that be?

"I played in Edmonton for three years ... I had a lot of fun there," he said. "You do the math."

It was never one of our better subjects. Would you like more than anything else in the world to score four on them so they don't get the two they so desperately need?

"In a competitive way, you want to be a guy who contributes," said Comrie. "They're fighting for their lives ... we all want to win .... I don't want to answer that question."

But he did, by the way he played.

Comrie had an obvious, extra hop in his stride early last night, while the numerous Oilers fans in the audience made him feel at home by booing him when he touched the puck.

He's been a good acquisition by John Muckler, who traded the mistake that was Alexei Kaigorodov to his pal Mike Barnett for Comrie on Jan. 3. He had the expected impact when he arrived, cooled off a bit while trying to find regular linemates and has now settled in nicely on the right wing with two other centres, Antoine Vermette and Chris Kelly. Heading into last night, Comrie had eight goals and five assists in 18 games as a centre, including a goal in each of his three previous outings.

He swears he hasn't thought about July, when unrestricted free agency will allow him to sign wherever he chooses. He likes Ottawa and the Senators, but at a salary of $3 mil now, it's hard to imagine they'll be able to like him back enough to get him to stay. Then, the son of The Brick owner (Bill Comrie) says money won't necessarily be a determining factor, so who knows?

"It's nice to be on a team where you're happy," said Comrie, who you knew wanted to add "especially when you can put a nail in the coffin of a team that made you unhappy," but didn't.

STARTS AND STOPS: Word is Daniel Alfredsson shaved his head down to the wood after wife Bibi admired the new look being worn by Britney Spears. Hair or no, he's still not nearly as cute as the former Mrs. Federline ... Oil coach Craig MacTavish had to second guess his decision to start backup Jussi Markkanen when he saw Dany Heatley score Ottawa's first goal. It was a weak one ... The Senators won't be able to pry Ryan Smyth from Edmonton, but maybe they should pursue Jason Smith. He'd be a tough addition to a blue line that could use a little more jam.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: Saw a TSN interview from the GMs meetings yesterday morning where Muckler, when asked about the prospects of acquiring either Panthers' Gary Roberts or Martin Gelinas, said he had "not talked to Jacques (Martin)." If true (which a Le Droit story insists it's not) why would Muckler admit to that? He should be in contact with every GM, no? Just to see what's what? Calling Martin wouldn't even include long distance charges for Muckler, with him wintering in Florida ... Seriously, how could you cheer against the Oilers last night. The NHL playoffs wouldn't be the same without them ... Another trip to Buffalo means one more visit to the bargain clothing store Steve & Barry's for the wise members of the traveling media. That's the place Dean Brown picked up a fine pair of jeans for $10.98 -- and only had to pay $12 to have them hemmed when he got back home.

BETWEEN PERIODS: Smyth smiled when asked about having a couple of teeth knocked out in a game earlier this season. "I was fortunate the gums clotted over so I could come back and play," he said. Gotta love him .... Judging by the way they started, the Oilers forgot they were a desperate team. The Senators had 10 of the first 11 shots on goal ... In the second period, Senators fans rallied around Comrie, cheering loud enough to drown out the booing Oilers supporters. They should do the same when the Leafs are in town and the blue and white wearing fans are giving the gears to Alfredsson.


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