Oilers ECHL prospects update

By Guy Flaming

The Edmonton Oilers were in a familiar situation finding a suitable development league team for their players last summer. Just like the 2003-04 AHL season that the Oilers spent affiliated with Hamilton where they shared the dressing room with the Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton has ventured into another split scenario this year in Greenville of the ECHL.

The Greenville Grrrowl affiliated with both the Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2004-05 campaign. Located in beautiful northwest South Carolina, the Grrrowl have been around since the 1998-99 season when they were affiliated with the Boston Bruins. The club’s best performance came in 2001-02 during a four-year partnership with the Atlanta Thrashers that resulted in an ECHL Kelly Cup Championship.

Greenville is the center of a sprawling Metropolitan Statistical Area home to 960,000 residents, approximately one and a half hours from Charlotte, NC and two and a half hours from Atlanta, GA. It is one of four ECHL teams in the state of South Carolina.

The Grrrowl’s record currently stands at 21-18-4, just inside the playoff cutoff, and attendance is 3,460, just below the league average of 3,858. The airy Bi-Lo Center seats 16,000 for concerts, but only 7479 for hockey.

There are some interesting differences found in the ECHL that fans of the NHL and AHL should be aware of. One is the fact that teams can only have 20 active members on the roster at any one time; extras are either placed on the injured reserve list, waived or traded. Greenville is only allowed to dress 16 skaters and two goaltenders for regular season match-ups.

The ECHL is among several pro hockey leagues in North America that already has a salary cap. According to ECHL.com, the weekly salary cap is $10,000 and the weekly salary floor is $8,000. Teams are required to pay rookie players a minimum salary of $325 per week and returning players a minimum salary of $350 per week. A returning player is classified as a player who appeared on a team’s season-ending or playoff roster or who has played in 25 or more professional hockey games. The NHL/AHL affiliate payment is $500 per week. Any affiliate amount other than $500 per week agreed upon with any NHL/AHL club will be considered a salary cap violation, this includes excess payments for equipment, travel, etc.

Asked whether or not he felt the cap was beneficial, Grrrowl Booster Club President Jeff Plain said, “I would suggest that the salary cap has been good for the league and provides a good balance between large market and small market teams.”

The Grrrowl currently have seven Oiler players on their roster but had three others in the fold earlier this season until call-ups and reassignments have displaced them. The troops are lead by head coach John Marks, who has coached over 1400 professional games, and is now the active leader among professional hockey coaches. Now in his seventh year behind the Greenville bench, Marks has an impressive resume that includes two league titles with separate teams, the only ECHL coach in history with that accomplishment.

“We’re only allowed to keep 20 guys on the active roster and that’s only if we can keep them under the salary cap!” exclaimed coach Marks. “I don’t keep healthy guys on the injured reserve like a lot of teams do. I don’t mind playing a few games short handed, I mean, nine forwards and five defensemen that’s nothing; when you get in the NHL, unless you’re on a team that plays four lines all the time, the fourth line only plays a shift or two anyway. Right now all the guys with contracts are playing and everybody gets pretty much the same opportunities. I try to have everybody kill penalties, play power play, take a regular shift and that way it keeps everybody a little healthier.”

Hockey’s Future had the opportunity to contact Oilers Chief Scout Kevin Prendergast and Coach Marks in order to get a complete description of the prospect picture in Greenville.

#5 Kenny Smith

Age: 23 Draft: 3rd Round (84th Overall) 2001 Pro Year: Rookie Outlook: Good

After leading the Harvard Crimson as captain last year, turning pro over the summer and attending training camp in Edmonton, Smith is one of only seven players who have dressed for all 43 of Greenville’s games this season. He has quietly made the transition from the college ranks to the ECHL. The adjustment hasn’t been without bumps in the road, but overall the Oilers and the coaching staff of the Grrrowl have been pleased with what the blueliner has brought to the team.

“Kenny is playing really well, getting an awful lot of ice time and playing in all key situations for (Greenville) and is working on the stuff that we’ve asked him to work on,” said VP of Hockey Operations Prendergast after a late January trip. “John Marks has done a lot of work with him after practices. His gap control and his positioning have really improved.”

“He had a tendency to play with two hands on his stick a lot and when you go in to check a guy with the stick they just roll off you, but if you’ve got control with one arm you can hold the guy in there,” Prendergast further explained. “A lot of it was his angle coming in on people to check them.”

Coach Marks has been impressed with Smith as much off the ice as on it.

“First of all, he’s a great kid,” the bench boss said. “He’s like a sponge in that he just listens to everything you’re saying and he obviously wants to learn. He has a tremendous work ethic and I think he’s got a real upside.”

“He skates well and handles the puck decent but the thing that has improved with him, like with most defensemen when they come down here, is moving the puck,” Marks continued. “What I try to tell all the guys is that Ray Bourque made a heck of a career throwing it off the glass and out sometimes. Even Paul Coffey threw it off the glass once in a while and I’m sure Kevin Lowe would appreciate that he did the same thing too. Kenny Smith just has to continue to learn that the first play he sees is generally the correct play. This year in this league is going to be a huge benefit for him and he’ll probably spend time at the next level, which I think he’s capable of playing at, and the NHL is up to him.”

Statistically there really is nothing about Smith to get too excited about with six points, but the Oilers aren’t expecting the Massachusetts native to impact the score sheet very often.

“He’s a simple player and keeps it that way in his own end,” Prendergast described. “He has a good first pass coming out, he’s not an end to end rusher, he does have a really good wrist shot and a decent slap shot but he’s not a goal scorer. He plays a little bit of power play for them but not much, however, he plays in the penalty-killing situations or in the last minutes of each period so they’re giving him a lot of responsibility.”

Next to the coach, the best person to talk to in order to get a good read on a defenseman is definitely a goalie.

“Kenny Smith has been one of my roommates down there,” commented current Road Runner keeper Mike Morrison. “He’s been playing pretty solid on D and just trying to getting his bearings and learning the travel and all that but he’s been playing well.”

In fact, Smith has been playing well enough that should the opportunity present itself, he could be on a plane to Edmonton.

“I told Geoff Ward recently that I wouldn’t have any qualms, if we ran into injury problems with the Road Runners, to call Kenny up,” Prendergast summed up.

#7 Jean-Francois Plourde

Age: 23 Draft: Free Agent 2004 Pro Year: 2nd Outlook: Average

J.F. Plourde has had to cope with a high ankle sprain this year and also a bit of politics too. As an agitating role player, Plourde has fought to get into the line-up on the occasional night and also to get ice time amongst prospects from Chicago and more successful ECHL regulars.

“He’s been up and down this season; he’s not getting a lot of ice time because they have Chicago prospects too and there’s a lot of politics involved,” said Marty St. Pierre now in Edmonton. “He’s working his butt off and deserves to be on the top line, but a lot of guys do too. He’s scored three or four goals on the PK so he’s working hard.”

“He was a healthy scratch at times in the beginning and then he got hurt, but John Marks has assured me that once he was healthy that he would play on a regular basis so that should be fine,” confirmed Prendergast. “He’s very disappointed that the season hasn’t gone the way he’d like it to because of the injury. He’s a gutsy kid and he’s got to play with a little bit of a burr under his saddle. He’s a darter; he scores his goals by getting in and out quickly. John Marks has been happy with is work ethic but he’s had trouble getting on track because of the injury.”

Another area where Plourde has struggled is between the ears but the Oilers have addressed the mental side of the game with the Quebec native.

“J.F. is a kid that scored 58 goals in junior by sticking his nose in and grinding it out and now one of his problems is that he equates everything to points and so if he’s not scoring goals he thinks he’s playing badly,” said Prendergast. “I told him that the goals will come with hard work so to just work on his game and get back to being healthy but play the way that got him here and that’s by being that rat type of player.”

Coach Marks describes Plourde as “the kind of guy the coach loves to have on the team and the other team hates to play against. He’s like Kenny Linseman; he’s a rat.”

“That’s the way he has to play to be successful and when he plays that way he can be an impact player as an instigator,” the coach continued. “He doesn’t have great finish but sometimes I think he tries so hard that it hurts him in that regard. He’s a good team guy, locker room guy, work ethic guy and character guy.”

Plourde has recorded a dozen points in 32 games so far this year, but his –16 places him among the bottom 15 in the league.

#9 Martin St. Pierre

Age: 21 Draft: Free Agent 2004 Pro Year: Rookie Outlook: Excellent

One of two Grrrowl players who earned himself a call-up to the AHL already this year is former Guelph Storm star forward Marty St. Pierre. After leaping out of the starting gates, piling up 39 points in 33 games and an All-Star game nomination, St. Pierre received the call from the Road Runners early in 2005. For the diminutive center it was the reward he was looking for after being surprised in training camp by not making the AHL team.

“It’s been that way my entire career, not getting drafted and stuff like that so you have to take that into consideration and use that as motivation,” St. Pierre said upon his return to Edmonton. “(In Greenville) I had great linemates and the coaching staff had faith in me because the points were coming down there. I was brought up here to try and get some offense and that’s my game as a playmaker more than a scorer but I try to keep it simple. Once you get used to the speed and the physical difference it’s a much easier game, as much as that sounds weird.”

In Greenville, St. Pierre was playing on the Grrrowl’s top line with Carl Mallette and the two combined to become one of the more dynamic duos in the league. According to the coach, St. Pierre’s small skates are proving very tough to fill.

“I know his linemates really miss him and his coach really misses him,” laughed Marks. “I’ve been around hockey long enough to know what it’s all about. He came down here, worked on his game, we all know he has excellent offensive ability, he has to continue to work on the defensive part of the game too though, but he improved with that while he was here.”

Now that St. Pierre is gone, Marks isn’t expecting to see him back anytime soon.

“My gut feeling is that I probably won’t see him back,” sighed Marks. “I’ve been wrong before, and I hope I’m wrong but that’s a selfish thing to say because I realize that Edmonton’s got an investment in him and he has the ability to play in the AHL. He’s proven that offensively he can do it so I don’t expect to see him again. I just want to say that if I do, great! But if not, it’s been a pleasure.”

For some it seemed like the promotion for St. Pierre was way overdue, especially through December when the Road Runners were struggling for wins. However, to hear the Oilers explain it, it’s just another spin-off effect from the NHL’s CBA issues.

“When you’ve got a guy playing that well down in Greenville, you would think that if the opportunity were there, by this point in time he would have seen some time here,” said Runners coach Geoff Ward at the end of November.

Since joining Edmonton St. Pierre has played very well, hardly taking any time at all to make the adjustment to the league. In 10 games he has totaled five points and was named a star of the game after a two-point performance against Manitoba on January 21st.

“The one thing he’s always been able to do is produce,” Prendergast stated simply. “He’s got that big man mentality, he’s not intimidated by size or anything, he’s a good skater and he’s extremely strong on his skates. He thinks the game so well that he’s able to make players around him better.”

“You go back to when we had Mike Comrie here and everybody talked about his ability to find players and this kid is all of that and the same size,” continued Prendergast. “He’s a kid that, personally for me because we brought him in here and I’m excited for him but we brought him in for a reason; this kid can play at just about any level given the right opportunity. Once he learns the AHL there’s an opportunity for him to possibly get a chance with the big team down the road.”

Although he recently sat out a Runners game, the first time he’s sat out of a game in over four years, Edmonton is counting on the rookie at a time when one of their impact players is out due to injury.

“He’s got the opportunity and what he does with it is up to him,” said Ward. “He’s a guy that can step up and replace some of the offensive minutes that Jarret (Stoll) was giving us.”

Even though he was honored by the All-Star opportunity in the ECHL, his promotion to the AHL meant he would miss the game.

“It would be nice to play in it because it’s an All-Star game but obviously I’d rather be here and playing well in the AHL,” said St. Pierre before being asked how long he expects to stay in Edmonton.

“I’m taking it day by day but I kind of like that; I’d rather know but in the back of my mind but if I don’t know then I have to push myself that much harder everyday,” the 5’9 center explained. “It would be nice to see if I could settle down somewhere but that’s the business and I have to get used to that.”

#11 Brock Radunske

Age: 21 Draft: 3rd Round (79th Overall) 2002 Pro Year: Rookie Outlook: Very Good

When the third-year Michigan State Spartans winger chose to leave school and turn pro this past summer, the decision raised a few eyebrows. In a year where NHL hockey seemed to be an after thought and the trickle-down effect of players to the AHL would crowd rookies out, ice time would be hard to come by.

Few felt he would make the Road Runners out of camp but he did, although Radunske played sparingly in eight games before being reassigned to Greenville. Radunske felt he would be better off turning pro than by returning to Michigan State for a fourth season in what some scouts have described as a boring, offense-stunting system under Rick Comley, who recently came over from Northern Michigan. New York Rangers prospect Lee Falardeau left the same team a year early and is now having a very productive season with the nearby Charlotte Checkers.

Over the summer and through training camp in Edmonton, Radunske was able to add some mass to his 6’4 frame.

“I think I had a pretty good summer actually and put a few more pounds on; I feel like I got stronger overall,” Radunske told Hockey’s Future in late November, pinning his weight down at an even 200 lbs. “I don’t see me getting any bigger over the course of the season but if I can maintain this weight over the year I’ll be pretty happy. Down the road I’d like to be 210-215 lbs.”

Weight was the lesser of two major issues that Radunske had to address this year, the second being his consistency. All through his college playing days he has had that tag to deal with but since being relocated to Greenville, there seems to be improvement in that area.

“I think that (Edmonton) was worried that his attitude being sent down would be that he would play hard one game and not so hard the next but he has surprised me and maybe the Edmonton people too that he plays hard all the time,” said coach Marks. “I think what he needs is just a little more muscle because he’s not afraid to go into corners and traffic. I really like his skating ability, he definitely can skate at the American level and he too is a guy that I feel has NHL capabilities.”

Prendergast seconded the positive review after a recent trip across the border.

“It’s the same with all these guys down there; they’re playing every night and getting regular shifts and special teams too,” explained the chief scout. “Brock is getting that offensive ability and confidence back that he had at Michigan State and the one thing he’s always had to work on is being there every night; he can’t play one good game, one fair game, one bad game and then one great game.”

“I told him ‘You can’t be good 80 games a year, but you can’t be bad for 45 of them either’, you have to find a niche in between there where the nights you’re not good you still find things to get the job done anyway. When he’s got the puck he can think the game and make things happen.”

Scoring at slightly more than a point per game pace, Radunske has fit in well with the Grrrowl and has clicked with his two linemates.

#14 Eddie Caron

Age: 22 Draft: 2nd Round (52nd Overall) 2001 Pro Year: Rookie Outlook: Very Good

Arguably the best story coming out of Greenville in the early stages of the season involved former second round draft pick Eddie Caron. After an unusual college career, Caron left New Hampshire a year early to pursue his professional options. No one was really sure what to expect from Caron as a pro, after all he had only managed a total of 19 points over three years with UNH. However, there were those who believed playing for UNH was detrimental to Caron’s natural development as the player he was before college.

“In prep school he had 30 or 40 goals and had a great shot but that all got stifled at UNH where they wanted him to be a grinder,” said one scout in the New England area. “In the games he played well at UNH he was mucking in the corners and taking the puck to the net and he scored some really nice goals but he never had the ice time to put up good numbers.”

The difference from New Hampshire to Greenville is clearly significant because Caron was on fire to begin the year. Before the incident that broke his leg, Caron had accumulated 9 points, and 7 goals in less than 20 games, a significant increase in his offensive output from his college days.

Right after Christmas when Mike Morrison came back to Edmonton the goalie commented on Caron’s year by saying “Eddie broke his leg and he’d been sidelined for a month, but he’s off the crutches now and he’s looking to start rehab up. He had a great start to the year with 6 or 7 goals right away so he was playing really well.”

Marty St. Pierre credits Caron’s work ethic for his success this year.

“He’s a great prospect,” said St. Pierre. “He works hard on and off the ice.”

Upon his return to duty following six weeks off because of the bad leg, Caron fell right back into the groove where he left off.

“When we drafted Eddie we thought he was going to be a power forward and unfortunately his three years of school tried to make him a defensive player and a checker and took away from that offensive ability,” said Prendergast. “He’s got 9 goals and scored a great one the night I was there. The coach says he’s starting to shoot the puck a lot and that’s one of his strongest assets as he’s got a cannon for a shot. He’s in good shape, probably for the first time in four years and he’s got a great attitude.”

Coach Marks is undoubtedly another reason for Caron’s offensive rediscovery.

“He needs to be more consistent on the physical part of the game as a pro; I know in college all they wanted him to do was be a heavyweight physical guy who just hit everything in sight and don’t worry about scoring but he’s got the ability to score,” explained Marks. “When he combines his speed and his physical presence, if he can put it all together, he has NHL ability.”

Caron’s other obstacle to overcome was his physical conditioning. While at UNH the forward’s weight reached 235 and that was simply too much mass for Caron to be able to play effectively. According to everyone following the player, that’s another box on the ‘to do’ list that can be checked off.

“We’ve got him down to about 220 lbs. and he’s eating much better, he’s much more aware of his body and what he’s putting into it,” Marks said with a chuckle. “I think he’s very proud of where he is right now, proud of his waistline; he’s done a great job in redefining his midriff.”

As one might expect, with the success on and off the ice that he’s experiencing, Caron is feeling pretty confident and renewed and is enjoying getting to play a more exciting style of game.

“He’s thrilled; he knows he made the right move coming out of college and he’s being shown confidence from the coach to play on the power play and to be on the first line and he never got that opportunity in college,” said Prendergast. “When he first got to Greenville, he’d hit the redline and basically dump it in and stop and that was his college coaching coming through. Now John is trying to get him to drive to the net and use his body.”

“He’s another guy where if we run into a situation with the Road Runners and we need a call up, I’d have no hesitation about bringing him here.”

#28 Brent Henley

Age: 24 Draft: Free Agent 2004 Pro Year: 3rd Outlook: Average

The season has been a trying one for Brent Henley who has had to watch far more games than he has been able to play. Injuries, illness and numbers have all contributed to the situation that eventually led to Henley’s relocation to Greenville after spending all year in Edmonton with the Road Runners.

His stint in the ECHL will see Henley suit up for the Grrrowl until February 23rd when he will return to Edmonton. Coach Marks welcomes the towering blueliner to his team and has already been impressed with Henley who has a point and fight in his first two games.

“I saw him last year in this league when he was with (South Carolina) and I know what he brings in regards to his physical presence,” said Marks. “I know that when he was asked to come down that it was disappointing but I talked to him the first morning and told him that I’m not after him to fight every shift or every game. He needs to be a physical presence yes, because that is part of his game, but I need him to play hockey and he needs that too. He needs to play well so that when his reassignment comes, he’s able to play for you guys in Edmonton and play well.”

#31 Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers

Age: 20 Draft: 2nd Round (31st Overall) 2002 Pro Year: Rookie Outlook: Excellent

For information on Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers’ assignment to Greenville, please refer to the recent HF Story.

#33 Mike Morrison

Age: 25 Draft: 7th Round (186th Overall) 1998 Pro Year: 3rd Outlook: Very Good

When Mike Morrison was cut from Road Runner camp and sent down to the ECHL, it was obvious to anyone who had been at the fall sessions that the outcome was basically predetermined. The best goalie in camp, the Bostonian was demoted and, although it stung him, it wasn’t really a shock.

“We were pretty clear with him in the summer that in all likelihood he would start in the ECHL unless Jeff showed that he was completely incapable of playing which he has not showed at all,” said Runners GM Scott Howson recently.

Morrison went to Greenville with a single thought on his mind; getting back to Edmonton as soon as possible.

“As a third-year pro, I think it was hard on him to have to come down but he did and he came with a great attitude,” Marks complimented. “He worked hard in every practice and played hard in every game and I think it’s because of that, that he’s having success up there.”

Since Morrison’s return to Edmonton he has played fantastic hockey and returning the kudos to the Greenville coach is easy for the 25-year-old to do.

“He’s the type of coach that you want to work hard for so I really enjoyed playing for him,” said Morrison. “He knew that I really wanted to get back up here and he was really supportive of that so you can’t ask for anything better that that.”

#44 Simon Ferguson

Age: 21 Draft: Free Agent 2004 Pro Year: Rookie Outlook: Average

If you’re looking for an in-your-face agitator to round out your line up, look no further than Simon Ferguson. At least, that’s how Coach Marks feels about the former Kelowna Rocket winger.

“He’s the kind of guy players don’t like to play against,” said the coach. “I was at a game last week in Columbia, South Carolina talking with Eric Boulton, who plays for Buffalo, and he said ‘I hate playing against that Ferguson, he just irritates the (heck) out of me!’ That’s a compliment to Ferguson to have a NHL tough guy say that.”

Since being sent to South Carolina earlier this year, Ferguson has found chemistry with the Road Runner that accompanied him on the flight from Edmonton.

“He, Radunske and Colin Pepperall have been very productive for us since I put the three of them together,” Marks said. Ferguson has 18 points in 22 games with the Grrrowl, a surprise, but he isn’t doing it with mirrors.

“He’s getting points because he’s hanging around the net,” Prendergast pointed out. “He’s got fair hands and he’s getting the opportunity because when you only dress 16 players a night you have to use everybody in all situations. He’s getting power play time and some penalty kill time, if it’s not him in the box.”

#6 Tomas Micka

Age: 21 Draft: 8th Round (245th Overall) 2002 Pro Year: 3rd Outlook: Average

The often forgotten prospect in the organization is in the ECHL but not in Greenville with the rest of the group. Tomas Micka is playing the 2004-05 season as a member of the Toledo Storm after joining the club a couple weeks into the schedule. Micka was one of a handful of Oiler prospects who were held up in red tape as they tried to get visas to enter the country. In that time, the young Czech made a buddy just in time to be sent to a completely new team filled with strangers.

“We were pretty good friends because his room was beside mine at the rookie camp and we kind of got close,” said Marty St. Pierre. “When he got sent down he was kind of frustrated, like everybody is when they get sent down, but then he went to Toledo and I didn’t even get to say goodbye and I haven’t talked to him since. It’s sad to see a guy leave, especially a European who doesn’t speak English that well.”

Micka was sent to Toledo when Radunske and Ferguson were demoted to Greenville, but no one really knew why it was him that was singled out for the relocation. According to the Oilers, it was actually at the request of the Storm.

“He was the player (Toledo) wanted,” confirmed Prendergast who went on to express that the deal did not indicate a drop in Micka’s stock. “We’ll be able to get him back to Greenville next year but it was just something where John Marks had too many wingers and he had no room to play him an awful lot and Toledo guaranteed us that he would get a lot of ice time. Tomas is a victim of this whole CBA scenario, there’s too many bodies hanging around. If there wasn’t a lockout, he’d certainly be in Greenville and maybe even (in Edmonton).”

Micka appears to be playing well with Toledo having notched 16 points in 38 games thus far and to hear it from Mike Morrison he wasn’t any worse with the Grrrowl and was well liked as well.

“He’s a different bird,” laughed the goalie. “He’s a weird kid but a funny kid. He’s one of those guys who once he feels comfortable and realizes no one is talking about him behind his back, and no one is, he can crack a joke here and there and enjoy the humor that goes around in a locker room. We had fun with him while he was down there in Greenville with us.”

ECHL Quotes

“We got Ferguson and Radunske when they were sent down and they’ve been huge additions for the team. Brock, from a skill level, he scored some nice goals recently and Ferguson just by being an instigator and a pain in the butt out there giving us an edge up front by getting in people’s faces.”
–Mike Morrison on the midseason impact made by ECHL reassignments to Simon Ferguson and Brock Radunske.

“This is the first time that I’ve seen Eddie Caron and he has a ‘V’ to his body. He’s got a big barrel chest but he’s worked really hard on his conditioning because he can see that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. He’s getting his ability back from when he was dominating in high school.”
–Kevin Prendergast Feb. 1, 2005 about the former power forward from UNH.

“He’s an antagonistic player, there’s a lot of Dan Baum in him.”
–Prendergast talking about Simon Ferguson.

“What normally happens in the AHL is that you get through October and November with too many bodies around. I would have expected a call-up probably in January or so where we would start to use Greenville more. Just because a guy plays well for two weeks you don’t bring him up, he has to prove it over the long haul and St. Pierre is going about doing that right now. We’d like to see him stay there for a while longer yet as an elite player over a sustained period of time.”
–Scott Howson on December 6th when asked if Marty St. Pierre or Eddie Caron would have received AHL recalls by that time in a non-lockout year. True to his word, St. Pierre joined the Road Runners early in the New Year.

“Originally I was supposed to fly out of Columbia, but all I had on me was a track suit so I wasn’t going to go too far with that. I flew out of Greenville last night to Toronto and now here I am. It’s been a crazy day of travel plus I was back home in Boston so I had to deal with all that too.”
Mike Morrison recounting his day after getting told he was headed back up to Edmonton.

“Me and the other goalie, Mike Brodeur (CHI), have been getting a ton of shots and at first we were a bit intimidated by it but I think it’s actually helped us out a lot and got our confidence up knowing that if we can win a game with 50 shots against, we must be doing something right.”
–Morrison again with the theory that a ton of shots is a good thing.

“This game has taught me in the three years that I’ve played that tomorrow is a totally different day and God knows what could happen. I had planned on being in Greenville enjoying my New Year’s beers with my folks and now I’m up here in Edmonton. It would be nice to get a couple games in up here just to show these guys that the numbers that I have in the ECHL I can put up here too. I think they all know that I proved it last year and I’m still looking for my chance this year.”
–Morrison reflecting on his one-day-at-a-time motto.

“It’s a little different because football is so big there, but Greenville is a hockey town and the coaches and GM are awesome. The best part is that you play every second or third day but it’s just sunny weather so it always helps.”
Marty St. Pierre on life in Greenville.

“We keep looking at the reports in the newspapers and see that every other team calls up players for two games and sends them back down but Edmonton had no transactions.”
St. Pierre explaining one disadvantage of having the AHL team so far away.

“Similar player, although he’s a lot more antagonistic that Liam Reddox is but that’s what I’d like to see Liam get to, to be honest with you.”
–Prendergast when asked if a comparison could be made between Reddox and J.F. Plourde.

“They came across very professional when they talked to us and they paid their bills; that’s a major thing we have.”
–Prendergast laughed when asked why the Oilers settled on Greenville for their ECHL affiliation. The remark is in reference to the Toronto Roadrunners failure to pay the arena lease which lead to moving the franchise to Edmonton this past summer.

“Temporary, absolutely.”
–Prendergast on whether or not JDD’s stint to Greenville was short term or long term.

“A bigger version of Plourde; he’s a bigger rat!”
–John Marks describing Simon Ferguson.

“I was really pleased when I went down there and met him. I played against him in my first year pro when I was in Columbus and heard that he had a good reputation as a coach and I found that out this year too. He’s a pretty low key and yet intense coach at the same time. He’s a player’s coach but makes you accountable.”
–Mike Morrison talking about Greenville coach John Marks.

“He’s willing to give you a lot of confidence right off the start. He put me with good players and we clicked right away. You can tell that he played the game. To him it doesn’t matter if you’re 5’6 or 6’6, he’ll give you a chance and if you take advantage of it he’ll keep you there.”
St. Pierre also expressing positive experiences playing under Marks.

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