In an effect to rejuvenate his career--or perhaps just prolong it--Marty McSorley has moved into his old dressing room cubicle and put back on his old No. 33 sweater, but reminders of how long it's been since he played for the Edmonton Oilers are everywhere.
"I can't dwell on the fact I've played here before," says McSorley, a 36-year-old defenseman/fighter. "I can't dwell on the fact that I've been here on two Stanley Cup teams. These are all new guys."
The old ones, the ones who won the Stanley Cups, were guys like Wayne Gretzky, who went to the Kings in a trade with McSorley on Aug. 9, 1988. They have moved on from Los Angeles now, McSorley to Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers and finally San Jose until coming back home after a period of unemployment.
He brings a sense of the past to Edmonton, even if he doesn't want to dwell on it. The Oilers are young--McSorley is one of 10 new players on the 24-man roster--and can use a gray hair or two. They also can use some protection, and McSorley is an experienced cop.
"The biggest thing is I've been around, I've played with a lot of guys," McSorley said. "They want me as a veteran . . . and I might have to get my hands dirty once in a while."
He didn't take long to soil them Saturday night, throwing an elbow into former teammate Luc Robitaille and putting the Kings on what turned out to be a shotless power play at 4:28 of the opening period.
This weekend, the Rangers' Gretzky, Boston's Ray Bourque and Vancouver's Mark Messier all began their 20th NHL seasons. The last player to play in 20 seasons in the league was Kings' Coach Larry Robinson. "[Nobody has done it because] it doesn't take players as long to make the same amount of money I made," cracked Robinson. "Now they can do it in one season."
The Kings scratched Ray Ferraro, Steve McKenna, Roman Vopat and Garry Galley from their season opener. . . . The Kings haven't won a season series from Edmonton since 1992-93, when they were 5-1-1 against the Oilers.