EDMONTON, Alberta | Eric Belanger is more than a year removed from hard feelings with the Capitals. In the 2010 offseason, he and his agent claimed the team backed out of a verbal contract agreement, leaving him to settle for a one-year deal with the Phoenix Coyotes.
In September of last year, he told Team 990 in Montreal that “It’s going to be hard for me to trust anybody else in this business for a while.”
Now, Belanger is the Edmonton Oilers’ third-line center and has left his time in Washington and the rough way it ended behind.
“I wasn’t there too long. It’s just another game,” he said. “What happens in the past, I moved on. I’m happy here.”
One of Belanger’s jobs with Edmonton – in addition to being a reliable faceoff guy – is teaching young center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who has the locker next to his at Rexall Place.
“He sits right next to me and he asks questions,” Belanger said. “It’s fun to be around a kid that respects everybody else and wants to be better.”
That includes faceoff questions and many others – anything Nugent-Hopkins is not sure about.
“You can see he wants to learn and wants to get better,” Belanger said. “As a veteran, I remember being in his shoes. It’s always nice to have somebody you can come to and ask questions.”