© The Edmonton Journal
LAND OF THE RISING PUCK
Jamie McLennan and buddy Tyson Nash from their St. Louis Blues days are now playing for the Asia Hockey League's Nippon Paper Cranes (one of the great nicknames) in Kushiro, Japan. McLennan, who was Miikka Kiprusoff's backup in Calgary, started the year in Magnitogorsk, Russia before negotiating a nice buyout. "One of my best friends has played on the Japanese team for 14 years (Joel Dyck) and he'd been hassling me to go," said McLennan via e-mail.
"Jamie was actually there working with their goalies during the first lockout (1994-95) so he knows the place and this is his way of closing out his career. I think he wants to get into management with the Flames," said Oiler Marty Reasoner.
Nash, a local boy who was one of the league's better disturbers, somehow fell out of favour with every NHL team and is in Japan just to get some games in. He hopes to be at an NHL camp on a tryout next fall. There was talk of inviting him to Oilers camp in the fall, but they brought in Anson Carter instead.
Frankly, his agitating style might look awfully good on the Oilers today. The seven-team Asia Hockey League has three bit-part NHLers -- winger Shane Endicott in Oji, Japan; big defenceman Steve McKenna, who's playing in Korea; and Joel Prpic in Seibu, Japan.