Mike Comrie held a press conference to discuss his return to Edmonton and the Oilers, and frankly he said all of the right things. He talked about being grateful for the opportunity to return to the Oilers, and how he’s matured over the time he’s been away.
What follows is a transcript of Comrie’s responses to the various questions posed to him.
“It’s one of those things that got down to the wire and I had to make a decision on some of the options that I had. This was one that just felt right. It’s a time in my life that I’m excited about; I got chills walking back into this rink, and it’s been a while since I had a feeling like that.”
Why Comrie’s return is different than his first go-around:
“I think the biggest thing is that I’m a little older, more mature, and more importantly ready to accept it. It was a little overwhelming and I don’t think I embraced it as well as I could have. It’s a lot to handle, and I felt like I needed to get away, and now I’m here, six years later. I’m extremely excited about being an Oiler again and playing in my hometown, one where I grew up with great memories.”
Home sweet home?
“Home sweet home. It’s one of those opportunities that I’m going to come in here, work hard – I’ve got to earn everything I get. Like every player that comes to camp I’m excited and thrilled about this opportunity.
Offers from other teams:
“I think that it’s probably unfair to talk about other teams or to sit here and tell you that I turned down certain offers. There was a lot of dialogue with other teams and different options, but this one just seemed to feel right. It’s funny how life works, but I’m excited to play in Edmonton.”
The strangeness of coming back to Edmonton:
“I think that once I get my skates on, there are a lot of familiar faces. I’ve been back here for a few weeks skating with some of my old teammates. It’s one of those things that I feel very grateful for, to get this chance. I didn’t know if it was ever going to happen, and I realize that I’ve got to come in here, play hard and help contribute. I know that the biggest thing that Edmontonians want is the Oilers in the playoffs.”
Being booed by the fans:
“When I left here, I never once criticized, saying ‘fans shouldn’t boo, shouldn’t do this, shouldn’t do that’. I always said that I was one of those fans that did that, so I’m not going to sit here and tell you that. Fans pay their hard-earned money for their tickets, and I hope to earn their respect back. The last six years were not easy on me; I wasn’t a fan favourite for leaving Edmonton, but having this chance to work hard and try and help this team, all I can ask for is a chance.”
The situation with Kevin Lowe:
“Actually it has. It’s a situation that obviously we had a falling out. The quote that he always says, “expect the unexpected” – sometimes you learn from your situations. I’ve always said that things weren’t handled properly. We met this week and management has been supportive and I appreciate this opportunity. I think Daryl’s a great owner, he wants the best for his hockey team, and this is going to be a competitive team. They’ve got a lot of depth and it’s got a core nucleus of guys that I know. I’m going to come in here and do what I can and score some goals, play hard and play responsible.”
How this effects his family:
“First off, I think that it’s a situation that… hockey is a game, and my dad and our family has worked hard in this community. He helped the SOS program with the Oilers, and he raised a lot of money with charities – the Stollery foundation, the Heart foundation, and obviously we grew up here. We have a lot of friends and ties to this community, and like I said earlier it was challenging being in that position at 21/22, not realizing what I had. Once you get the opportunity to have that again, the passion that I had for the game – I’m excited. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Being yet another small Oilers forward:
“I think that in the new NHL you have to go out and play hard. Just because a guy’s six feet doesn’t mean he’s any tougher than a guy who’s 5’10”. Team toughness is important in the new NHL, but more importantly you’ve got to move the puck and play hard.”
“I feel good. I worked hard this summer. I know everyone always says that so it doesn’t mean a whole lot, but I took time to heal. I had surgery a year ago to fix my hip, but I feel good. It’s going to be something that I’ve got to work hard and do what I can, and like I said I’m excited and I can’t wait for the season to start.”
What position he might play:
“I’ve played wing the last few years, and what I’ve learned as I got older was that you play where the team needs you. I remember being twenty years old; I had a different mentality where I thought I could only play centre. I enjoy playing on the left side, but wherever the coaching staff decides to put players to make the team better, that’s the main objective.”
Where he fits on the team:
“I think when you get to a certain point in your life you don’t want anything handed to you; you want to earn what you get. In this NHL, everybody’s got to earn what they get. Everyone needs to play, and earn what they deserve.”
If he’ll get his old number back:
(Laughs) “We’ll see. We haven’t discussed anything like that.”