| COMRIE COMMENTS ON COMEBACK |
Prior to the Oilers taking the ice on the second of day of Oilers Mini-Camp, Mike Comrie skated with team strength and conditioning coach Simon Bennett.
Comrie has been out since November 18 with mononucleosis. Following the skate, he spoke to the media.
"I'm starting to feel a little better. I think it's been frustrating," said Comrie. "As an athlete you always hate watching your team play without you but when you don't have a lot of energy and feel sick there's not much you can do."
It's been a frustrating time for the Edmonton native, who has five goals and eight points in 16 games this season.
"The medical staff has been on top of everything, from blood work to ultrasounds. As a player you can't control some of those things but they've taken great care of me," he said.
Comrie's injury came on the heels of the flu. A weakened immune system resulted in him having some severe symptoms.
"Once I got mono, I didn't have any energy. I tried to play through it but realized (I couldn't)."
However, the forward is now on the road to recovery.
"I've been skating and working out. Some days I've been in the gym for a couple of hours then on the ice for a little bit," he noted.
There's still no timeline on Comrie's return as he tries to build up his strength after so many weeks of inactivity.
"I think it's a week-by-week progression. Hopefully I can start skating with the team soon."
Defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky had an interesting observation on the Mini-Camp, remarking that the team's approach is for this to be a whole new season starting this Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.
"It's like we're starting a new season. The 'last season' was very bad. 44 games. Everybody was very mad," stated Visnovsky. "The media is mad, the players mad, the coaches mad and the fans are very mad. We need to start thinking positive, especially in the locker room and especially on the ice."
As for his own injury, Visnovsky feels he's ready to go for Tuesday.
"I feel very good. The coach gave me time for my recovery and my ankle is okay. Every practice I feel better and better."
Associate Coach Tom Renney commented after practice that he was very impressed with the team's compete level following two very gruelling days on the ice.
"The proof will be in how we come out and compete in our next hockey game and what we've been able to make out of these three days because of that."
The second day of Mini-Camp was much different than the first with a variety of different drills capped off with a three-on-three game.
"We've got to give our guys credit. They've come to work every day here. It doesn't matter what the drills look like or what our intentions are, they've done everything they could. It's as good a practice team as I've had."
Renney stole a page from former colleague Perry Pearn's book by holding the three-on-three competition.
"There is something to that. We did it a lot when Perry and I were in New York. There's a support game involved offensively and defensively and a quick transition off of that," Renney noted. "It pushes the envelope from a fitness perspective as well because if you get hung out there you've really got to work."
The Associate Coach agreed with Visnovsky's assessment that the next game is a fresh start, a clean slate for the club.
"The bottom line is, it is what it is in terms of history. Our intentions are to deal with this next game as game one. We haven't nailed it. We want to make sure we continue to develop and build character."
STRUDWICK SHINES IN THREE-ON-THREE
If there were three stars announced following the three-on-three scrimmage, the first star would have been defenceman Jason Strudwick, who potted a pair of goals.
"It's a really fun game. I love playing it, I've been playing it a long time and I know some ways to cheat and get open," Strudwick remarked.
"Maybe that's the deal. You just take the pressure off and let him go play and he's an offensive wunderkind. He was unbelievable out there, don't tell him I said that though," joked Sam Gagner about Strudwick's performance. "Too bad we couldn't come out with the win."
"We're trying to keep it as loose as we can," Gagner continued, talking about the three-on-three. "We wanted an element of intensity and focus. We felt we accomplished a lot in those two days."
Despite not being able to enjoy a golf weekend, Strudwick was very happy to spend the time at the rink to try and work on some elements of the team's game the past few days.
"We're in a situation that our record is not as strong as we want it to be. A block of no games like this is a great time to work on some conditioning and team concepts."
Author: Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com