Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/13/13
The tissue paper flowers are tearing a bit, and the magic marker slogans on the cardboard placards are starting to run, but the Stars’ Homecoming Float has one more stop before it can be put up for the season. After visits to Buffalo (Lindy Ruff), Ottawa (Sergei Gonchar), Boston (Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley) and Detroit (Jim Nill) to allow a few new Stars to say goodbye to their old haunts, the float will land here at Rexall Place on Wednesday so former Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff can complete the process of “moving on.” “It’s going to be emotional,” said Horcoff, who was drafted by the Oilers in 1998 and spent 13 years in Edmonton. It’s ironic that Horcoff wears the No. 10 that used to belong to Brenden Morrow, because their stories are so similar. They are both heart and soul guys who climbed the mountain with grit and skill, made a tremendous and unexpected playoff run, earned the “C” as captain, and then had to stand up during a painful collapse and be the face of the team. If you’ll feel a twinge of emotion for Morrow when he eventually returns with the Blues, you kind of know what Edmonton fans and Horcoff are going through. “Thirteen years is a long time,” Horcoff said. “It’s all I know, really. They gave me a chance to come into this league. I played every line, every position, I went from a guy who played six, eight minutes a night to a top-playing guy. I owe them a lot.” Horcoff has some tremendous memories, including a run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006 where the Oilers lost to Carolina. He had 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 24 playoff games, and endeared himself to the Rexall Place faithful. The problem is that the Oilers missed the playoffs for the next eight seasons, and the fans lost a lot of that faith. As captain of the team for the last three years, Horcoff has had to carry a lot of burden. He has two years remaining on a six-year contract that has a salary cap hit of $5.5 million. “The last four or five years have been extremely difficult,” Horcoff said. “We were going through a rebuilding process, and being the captain in that situation, there are some really tough nights. But I felt it made me stronger as a player.” When Stars general manager Jim Nill decided to acquire Horcoff in the summer, he felt a fresh start would be good for the 35-year-old. Horcoff was coming off a year in which he had just 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in 31 games, and clearly needed something new. Nill’s son played at Michigan State, where Horcoff often worked out in the summer, so there was a trust there. “I know what kind of person he is, and I know that he can be a big part of what we’re trying to build,” Nill said.
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