Bye-bye Bergy

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

TORONTO -- Marc-Andre Bergeron knew something was up.

Following Saturday 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bergeron had a feeling he had played his last game with the Oilers.

"For some reason I had a feeling I was going to get traded," Bergeron said.

"I was sitting in the locker room after the game and Kevin Lowe walked through and kept looking at me.

"After the game I was talking to my girlfriend back home and I told her I thought I was going to get traded. I had never felt that way before."

Yesterday Bergeron was sent to the New York Islanders along with a third-round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft in exchange for defenceman Denis Grebeshkov.

KINGS TOP PICK

The six-foot-one, 200-pound native of Yaroslavl, Russia, was originally the Los Angeles Kings first pick - 18th overall - in the 2002 Entry Draft.

Last season Grebeshkov was traded to the Isles along with Jeff Tambellini for Mark Parrish and Brent Sopel.

"The organization thinks very highly of Grebeshkov," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "He's a guy that was on our radar when we were in the process of trading Mike Comrie.

"We all know that we need to make some improvements in that area in terms of moving the puck and getting the puck up the ice quickly, and we thought it was worth making the deal."

Grebeshkov, 23, is currently playing in Russia. The Oilers don't expect to see him until next September. He's played 33 career NHL games, registering six assists.

This season with Yaroslavl, Grebeshkov has six goals and eight assists in 40 games.

Bergeron, 26, will travel to Long Island from Toronto.

"I'm a pretty positive guy and I see it as a fresh start," Bergeron said.

"To be traded, you need a team that wants you. I just talked with (Islanders GM) Garth Snow and he's as excited as I am."

It had been a tough season for Bergeron, who really is the Oilers lone offensive defenceman.

Bergeron struggled when asked to take on added responsibility.

He was deemed expendable despite leading the Oilers blueliners in scoring this season with eight goals and 17 assists in 55 games.

"In fairness to Bergy, nobody should read into this that we're blaming him for the situation we're in," said MacTavish. "We know it's much deeper than that.

"But we didn't see the progress that we would have liked from him. We were not completely unhappy with him or we weren't dissatisfied with him.

"But in light of the fact we could possibly add an element to our back end that we need and get a guy that we could develop into a really good player, we thought it was worth the chance."

Bergeron departs having played 189 games for the Oilers, scoring 33 goals and adding 55 assists for 88 points.

"Everybody knows that Mac has been hard on me at times," said Bergeron.

"There were times where he frustrated me and got me rattled a lot.

"But at the end of the day I respect Mac a lot and it helped me a lot."

The native of St-Louis-de-France, Quebec, was signed by the Oilers as a free agent in 2001.

He made an impressive debut, with a big hit on Brenden Morrow and an assist in a playoff game against the Dallas Stars in 2003. It's still one of his best memories as an Oiler.

SENT DOWN

"That was my first game in the NHL, so that was exciting," Bergeron said. "The only bad part about that is that I got sent down the next day."

Tomorrow the Oilers continue their seven-game road trip when they take on the Ottawa Senators.

"I'm a pretty loyal guy," Bergeron said. "When the a team like the Oilers gives you a chance, signs you to a long-term deal and shows that they have confidence in you, it sucks to leave it on the table like that, and go do it somewhere else.

"But that's the way it works in this business."


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