If anyone still was not over the love-affair with Nilsson, who went to EDM as part of the Ryan Smyth trade, one should read Nolan's latest quotes on the subject to prove what has been written about many times here and elsewhere:
Nolan was not a Nilsson fan, and that made him expendable.
Nolan told it plainly to Robert Tychkowski, of the Edmonton Sun:
"Nilsson certainly has the skill level, but skill without the will is tough sometimes. Once he finds that consistency ... he's a heck of a player. I hope things work out for him. We watched him in the American League do some magical things with the puck, but sometimes all that gyration doesn't accomplish very much."
Nilsson is on pace for a 30ish point season with only 6 goals. O'Marra sits injured for the season in the minor leagues. All leading to further distance from the outrage of fans who were disappointed in the trade shedding of the two to get Smyth, who ended up being a mere playoff helper. However, as one, without him, the Isles wouldn't have made those playoffs. So, while other teams gave the moon . . . like Atlanta and San Jose for playoff pieces, the Isles seemed to pay far less. The only fixture of judgment besides the two, was the 1st round pick to the "weak draft" they gave away along with it.
So it is Angelo Esposito, who is in Pittsburgh system, that might be the final judging mark to the deal, since he was very high on the Isles list and would have been available in their draft spot.
Speaking of former players, Denis Grebeshkov has 4 pts and a -10, while the man the Isles got, Marc-Andre Bergeron, has 14 points and -4.
As the Isles play Edmonton, Grebeshkov and Nilsson tonight, Mike Comrie comes back to his first team. In the Edmonton Sun, he for the first time addresses the rumors that have followed him to several places. That rumor was that he slept with goaltender Tommy Salo's wife.
"I should have said something about it right away. But the reason I didn't is because I didn't think it would have the legs that it did. Everyone thinks it happened, but it's the most ridiculous rumor. Untrue. You can ask Jason Smith, Ethan Moreau, Ryan Smyth ..."
- Mike Comrie in the Edmonton Sun
So tonight, some ghosts might be exorcised by two teams that are entwined together for multiple reasons. Edmonton sits with 18 wins and 40pts. The Isles with 20 wins and 44pts. Besides the stronger goaltending for the Isles, the D has been better. But Edmonton has a more potent offense. So tonight will be an interesting matchup. The Isles should come out sharper after being sloppy mentally in the Colorado game. But Edmonton might have something to say about that. Tom Gilbert in his first full season has 7 goals and 14pts, with a +3, and leads the EDM D. Ethan Moreau, since coming back from injury has 4pts in 4 games.
The Isles need to play a smart savvy game, like their end of December, to get 2 needed points.
Okposo Officially to Bridge
As a final exclamation point to those who somehow thought he'd be plopped onto a the big club, where prospects are not groomed and developed. Well, guess again. As Logan confirmed in his blog, and Larry Brooks got horrendously wrong yesterday, Kyle Okposo will be reporting to Bridgeport. Should be another great reason to catch a Bridgeport game.