When Todd Harvey arrived for practice on Tuesday morning, he expected to see a red sweater in his locker.
Instead, Harvey saw blue. Blue as in the top line with Ryan Smyth
and Shawn Horcoff
. RELATED: Harvey talks to the media after practice on Tuesday.
When asked what he thought when he saw that blue jersey there, and with it the possibility of drawing into the lineup against his old team tomorrow night, Harvey laughed.
"I figure they're bringing in the closer," he kidded. "It was in my stall so I put it on."
Harvey did not hear from the coaching staff definitively one way or the other whether he would play in the coveted spot on the number one line, or even play at all.
"You have to talk to Mac (head coach Craig MacTavish)," he said. "I ain't gonna say nothing right now."Shawn Horcoff
, who was centring Harvey on the top line through practice, knows how valuable it is to have someone with Harveys experience in a potential series-clinching game.
"He's going to add some grit and add some experience," stated Horcoff. "He's been there before, he's played these big games."
In a series that has become a war of attrition, it could also do the Oilers well to put a fresh pair of legs out there – particularly a player whose trademark over the years has been to play a tough, physical game along the boards.
"He's got a great shot and is good along the wall," he said.Ryan Smyth
concurred that Harvey might be a player that gives the Oilers a bit of an edge.
"I think he's a very composed type of player. He does the right things and thinks the game well," said Smyth. "He cares about winning and knows what it takes to win."
MacTavish wasnt tipping his hand one way or the other regarding Harveys insertion into the lineup but did mention that he was entertaining the possibility.
"He's very reliable in his own end and I think that's going to be important tomorrow and possibly in Game 7," noted the head coach.
If Harvey does play, it would be at the expense of Brad Winchester, though MacTavish was sure to note that it had nothing to do with how Winchester performed the past few games.
"What Brad gives us is some speed and some physical play. I think Todd gives us less speed but more reliability positionally," he said. "That's why I'm entertaining thoughts of making a change there.
"It's nothing really Brad has not done. He's played his role very well for us but I think under the circumstances the other guy deserves some merit."
Credit should be given to Harveys professionalism through the past five games. Even as a healthy scratch for this entire series, his work ethic has never wavered.
"I just try to stay ready. It's a good opportunity if I am. Get out there and play against my old team and hopefully finish them off," Harvey remarked.
Harvey knows that you need depth in order to succeed in the postseason, which is why he was ready to step in at any given moment.
"To win in the playoffs, you need 25 guys," he said. "I'm just one of those 25 guys. When you're called upon you have to be ready."