Thursday, September 10, 2009


Hometown boy back in hometown

It's been a long six years for the Edmonton Oilers and Mike Comrie, but it seems like by-gones have finally become by-gones.

At least, so far as the team management and player are concerned.

In those six years the Oilers have made the playoffs but once, while Comrie shuffled his way through the Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders organizations, himself appearing in the playoffs only once.

One can imagine that the weeks between his signing today and the start of the pre-season -- when we'll get the first big indication of how Oilers fans are taking the return of the old number 89 -- will be tense ones. Oilers fans were unforgiving of Comrie during his contract hold out (which was actually precipitated equally by both sides of the dispute).

However, Comrie's return will make questions about who will play in the Oilers top six more pronounced -- particularly as it pertains centre.

As the rookie training camp winds down with tomorrow night's game against the Golden Bears at the Clare Drake Arena and regular training camp gets set to open, Shawn Horcoff, Sam Gagner, Mike Comrie and Andrew Cogliano will be competing for two spots at centre, with Gilbert Brule and Robbie Schremp looking to crack the lineup.

Ales Hemsky, Patrick O'Sullivan, Robert Nilsson, Dustin Penner and Jordan Eberle will be fighting over the remaining spots in the top six. That's a crowded pair of lines for Pat Quinn to decide.

Quinn's dilemma should be made easier by the fact that Shawn Horcoff and Sam Gagner can both also play on the wing -- although Horcoff will certainly be taking faceoffs nonetheless.

As the only Oiler centreman in the lineup to have cracked the 30-goal mark before (he's done it twice in his career, once as an Oiler), Comrie may even usurp Horcoff's spot as top centre (but no one should count on that).

If Oilers fans can get over the acrimony of 2003-04, Mike Comrie should prove to be a welcome addition to the Oilers.

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