Ryan Whitney might find his way to the visitors dressing room when the Anaheim Ducks come calling at Rexall Place Friday to have a chat with old friends and teammates, but don’t expect coach Randy Carlyle to be part of the conversation.
Whitney and Carlyle, it’s clear, won’t be reminiscing about their time together when the Ducks face the Oilers for the first time since GM Bob Murray sent Whitney packing to Edmonton for Lubomir Visnovsky at the March 3 trade deadline.
Suffice to say, Whitney and Carlyle won’t be toddling down memory lane together hand in hand. I’m guessing they won’t even take time to wave at each other — at least not using all their fingers.
Sometimes, that’s how it goes.
NO FIT IN DUCK COUNTRY
"Not that he necessarily didn’t like me as a guy, but I don’t know if he liked me as a player that much," Whitney said of Carlyle this morning. "I kind of got that vibe."
"I was playing a lot. There was never any issue with ice time or anything, but I just didn’t really seem to fit his mould. Because of that, I kind of felt like something . . . then, you hear rumours and stuff like that."
While a lot of Oilers fans initially lamented the move that brought the 27-year-old Whitney and a sixth-round draft pick here for Visnovsky, the lanky blueliner has found a fit in Edmonton alongside Tom Gilbert.
Whitney’s won over a lot of those fans, not to mention coach Pat Quinn, associate Tom Renney, the rest of the bench staff and his teammates in the 10 games he’s played since the trade
That’s a page Whitney and Carlyle never got on together in parts of two seasons after Whitney was dealt to the Ducks by the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2008-09 season.
"I enjoyed my time there," Whitney said. "I became friends with a lot of guys and really liked playing there. Bob Murray said it when he called me — it just wasn’t working."
After tallying 4-24-28 in 62 games with Anaheim, Whitney has 1-2-3 in his 10 games here, logging a load of ice time and playing with a more physical edge than most expected. More important, Whitney’s happy to be here.
"Obviously, it’s tough not to be in the playoffs this year, but I think that next year we can, at least at this point in the year, be still battling for a spot," Whitney said.
"With rebuilding, you never expect to jump from worst to first, but at the same time, you get some good, young guys in here and you get a new start and I think that we’ll be a much better team next year. That’s what is exciting."
WRONG CALL, RANDY
When it comes to Quinn and Renney, Whitney feels there’s a fit.
"I honestly haven’t really spoken to Pat that much, but Tom runs the D and I think we’ve got along pretty well," Whitney said.
"I appreciated when I got here that he said, ‘I think you’re a really good player and you’ll be a good player for us.’ He’s shown a lot of confidence in me. Any player will tell you, when you have confidence, it’s everything."
As for facing the Ducks, Whitney isn’t offering the usual, "It’s just another game" pablum. Far from it.
"It definitely is. No question," said Whitney when asked if facing Carlyle and the Ducks provides motivation. "I really want to prove them wrong. "There’s a big difference between getting traded from Anaheim and when I got traded from Pittsburgh. In Pittsburgh, they had Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang. They were younger defenceman and they were cheaper and they needed a winger (Chris Kunitz), so that was an understandable trade.
"This one was because they didn’t like me there. Because of that, I have a lot to prove, to prove that they were wrong."
— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.