Watching the Edmonton Oilers file out of Kinsmen Arena on their way to the airport after this morning’s skate, I couldn’t help but wonder which players wouldn’t be making the return flight from a four-game road trip.
Uh, Robert Nilsson? You didn’t send out any dry cleaning, did you? And Erik Cole? How are those talks about a contract extension going with GM Steve Tambellini? I thought so.
With the NHL trade deadline looming Wednesday, most players will tell you they don’t think about it too much. I’ve always thought that’s sort of like a frat house senior saying he doesn’t think about beer and chicks. What’s wrong with you, boy?
Of course players think about the trade deadline. Like, if you could end up in Carolina, where you won’t have to wait until April 11 to book tee times, or Florida, where hockey is Page 5 until the Stanley Cup final, you’d be thinking about it, too. No?
I mean, if Dan LaCouture can be traded for Sven Butenschon, anybody can be traded, right?
What, me worry?
“You can’t focus on it,” said Nilsson, whose value right now makes him nothing more than a throw-in or sweetener as part of any deal. “If there was something you could do about, then you’d focus on it. But there’s nothing you can do. You just have to play your game.”
Or you can sit in the press box and wait — although, with captain Ethan Moreau out with an eye injury (more on that later), Nilsson could be back in the line-up against Nashville Tuesday.
“You hear things from guys on different teams and stuff like that,” admitted Cole. “You play with enough guys over the course of your career, there’s guys around the league you’re friends with. The way text messaging is, you get a lot of those. You’ve got to be prepared for whatever happens.”
While I was tempted to ask Cole if he’d received any messages from Tuomo Ruutu in Carolina inquiring about house rentals in Edmonton or notes like, “Just thought I’d drop a line to see how you’re doing” from Jim Rutherford, I resisted the urge.
Then, there’s Sheldon Souray, who isn’t going anywhere. Not a chance. No way. Right?
“Anybody who has been in the league for a few years has been involved in a rumour,” Souray said. “Guys watch. I don’t think guys are looking at the deadline as wanting something to happen. You just have to go about your business. Guys get paid to play, not make personnel decisions.”
We keep getting bits and pieces of positive news about the state of Moreau’s right eye, damaged by Antti Miettinen’s high-stick in the final seconds of Saturday’s 3-2 win over Minnesota.
Moreau’s home resting after spending Saturday night in the hospital. And, while there’s no iron-clad prognosis, yet, and specialists will monitor Moreau closely in coming days, it appears, thankfully, we’re not looking at a repeat of a Bryan Berard-type situation.
“He saw the doctor again today and everything went well,” said coach Craig MacTavish. “All the news so far has been really positive. It’s hard to completely anticipate and project how it’s going to go, but everything to this point has really gone well.
“Everything looks to be pointing to a complete and full recovery, so far. How long that is, depends on the next few days. There’s an obstacle every couple of days to get over. So far, he’s doing well.”
Around the rink
Ales Hemsky didn’t skate today after taking a shot in the foot against Minnesota. He’ll be ready to go in Nashville.
Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe didn’t accompany the team to Tennessee. They’re flying directly to Ottawa and will meet the team there.
— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6pm on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.