Welcome Back, Comrie

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It is official; Mike Comrie has signed a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers. At this moment terms are still unofficial, but it seems to be between $1- $1.3 million.

This story has been perplexing on many levels since the beginning. First off, our buddy Wanye Gretz was the one who broke this story. The guy who claims he is drunk 24/7 clearly finds time to get a few nuggets.

Even Hall of Famer Jim Matheson didn’t think this was possible, and David Staples shot it down as not happening. Looks like ole Wanye was bang on.

So how the hell did this happen?

It has become clear that this wasn’t a case of Daryl Katz begging Comrie to come here. The fact is Comrie wants to be here, maybe even more than the Oilers’ original interest, and he pushed for this just as hard as the Oilers listened.

Whether you like Comrie or not, the fact is when he is on his game he competes hard for his size, and he has lots to play for. How many NHL players around the league have a chance to re-establish their character and reputation in their hometown?

What does this mean?

Last week Robert Nilsson told me it would be great if Comrie came here because he was a good player, but I don’t see any way that Nilsson can stick now that Comrie has signed. Even though Comrie has struggled the past few years, he has still proven more in his career than Nilsson has. And I’d bet that Comrie has more respect from inside the locker room than Nilsson, strictly because he has proven it.

Nilsson might have more natural skill, but the harsh reality is he hasn’t used it on a regular basis, and I don’t see him doing it in Edmonton.

Even though he won’t battle Comrie for a direct spot, I suspect that Marc Pouliot is another guy who will be on the outside looking in when camp breaks. His hockey sense is the issue with him, not his skill set or drive. He just hasn’t shown an ability to play the NHL game they way they want him to. Unless he has figured that out over the summer I don’t see him in the opening day lineup.