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Kassian returns to Oilers with Stanley Cup aspirations

The Oilers signed winger Zack Kassian to a three-year contract extension and he has winning a championship on his to-do list

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

Back in his hometown of Windsor, ON, Zack Kassian is working out, soaking in the sun, relaxing on the water and enjoying his beloved motorcycle.

Still can't swim after 5 years but boy he loves being on the water!

A post shared by Zack Kassian (@zkass09) on

On Sunday, Kassian joined roughly 1,400 fellow motorcyclists in the seventh annual Bob Probert Ride, and helped raise more than $100,000 for cardiac care in memory of the former NHLer.

On Monday, Kassian took the next path in an even more personal journey off the bike. He inked a three-year contract extension with the Edmonton Oilers.

"It means a lot, for sure," said Kassian. "It was one of those things where two years ago I was down and out."

Kassian has overcome personal turmoil and a hockey career in doubt to become a nightly contributor on the Oilers - but his story doesn't end with this contract signing.

"I've crawled my way back, but I still have a lot of unfinished business to do," he said. "I'm excited to be in Edmonton for the next three years, but I feel like I'm not going to be satisfied until we get a Cup. I feel like that's where our team is at, that's where the mindset is. Until that happens, I won't be satisfied."

Kassian and his fellow Oilers took strides toward that ultimate goal this season, becoming the first Edmonton roster to make the playoffs since 2006. They then beat the San Jose Sharks before pushing the Anaheim Ducks to Game 7 in round two.

"We have a good team, we know how hard it is to win but everyone on our team is not taking anything for granted, we're not getting complacent, everyone is on the same page and I think that's important," he said. "All we can do is work hard every day to try and improve as a group to give ourselves the best shot of getting into the playoffs and making some noise. That is where everyone's heads are at, that's where my head is at and it's going to be exciting for years to come."

Video: TRUE BLUE | Zack Kassian

Through a season and a half of commitment and personal growth, Kassian has forged a new identity for himself in the eyes of the fan base. In the playoffs, he endeared himself even more to the crowd with his impactful physical play, tenacity and timely goal scoring in the first round.

Chants of "Kass-ian!" rippled through a rowdy Rogers Place on a few occasions, reaching near deafening levels.

"That was a pretty cool experience. I don't think I've ever had fans chanting my name before but it was very cool and very humbling to have a chant like that considering two years ago when I was playing against Edmonton everyone wanted me dead, Kassian quipped.

"That just shows how passionate the city of Edmonton is. If you work hard and play hard, they respect you as a player and it goes a long way so that's good to see."

The player has endeared himself to the city, and the city to him.

"I love the city of Edmonton. They've been great to me," said Kassian. "Moving forward, the team is going to get better, the hockey community is awesome and the new arena is awesome.

"It's an exciting time to be an Edmonton Oiler. The city has really embraced this team. It's fun any game going into Rogers Place and playing in front of the fans."

In addition to his goal of bring a Stanley Cup to those fans, Kassian's short-term to-do list includes, embracing his commitment to fitness, continuing to improve his penalty killing ability and coming into 2017-18 ready to be a hardworking, physical force.

"That's what I have to do to be successful personally and to have team success."

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