Looking back for a moment, Andrei Loktionov’s second trip to Edmonton was much better than his first. Loktionov made his NHL debut in Edmonton last season, on Nov. 25, 2009, but it ended abruptly and painfully when Loktionov separated his shoulder in the third period. It was a rough night. The Kings held up their departure from the arena for a while, but eventually had to leave Loktionov behind because doctors couldn’t get his shoulder back into place. Loktionov, whose English is improving but limited, had to go to a local hospital, and Loktionov didn’t return to action (in the AHL) until late March.
“It was a long night,” Loktionov said today. “I was in the dressing room, after the game, for like two hours. Then we go to the hospital. I was there for like two hours, and then we came back to the hotel and I couldn’t sleep. It was a long night.”
Loktionov got some help. Fellow Russian player Denis Grebeshkov, then a defenseman for the Oilers, gave Loktionov a helping hand that night.
“He helped me a lot,” Loktionov said. “He drove me after, back to the hotel.”
By contrast, last night’s game was a dream. Loktionov played nearly 15 minutes, mostly in a top-line role, and had two shots on goal.