Oilers shooting blanks

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:27 AM ET

CALGARY — Good thing these games don’t count, because there’s nothing much to count.

One goal in 120 minutes against a division rival isn’t how anyone wants to end the pre-season, but, on the bright side, at least the pre-season is over.

The Edmonton Oilers have already forgotten about 5-1 and 1-0 losses to the Calgary Flames Friday and Sunday and will instead focus their attention on what they’re going to look like when blanks turn to bullets Thursday.

“I’m not really concerned just yet,” said head coach Tom Renney, more concerned with his final cuts than a shutout loss at the Saddledome.

“I think our power play will click and when we get there in a bad mood we’ll be fine.”

While the Oilers still had some last-minute evaluating to do, the Flames had all hands on deck for this one, going with their opening day lineup (minus a few injured vets), so it’s no surprise they ran their pre-season record to 7-0 at Edmonton’s expense.

Tentative start

“We started a little tentative, we waited to see what kind of a game it was going to be and whether we could compete in it,” said Renney. “Because of that we were outshot by a fair amount and down a goal after the first period. Then we collected ourselves and identified what we wanted to be and came back and played hockey.”

Now it’s up to the coaches. There are a couple of forward spots up for grabs and a position on the blue-line that still needs somebody’s name on it.

“We have some time on our hands,” said Renney, who’ll make some, but maybe not all, of the cuts on Monday.

“Steve and I and the coaches will sit down and review it, and make some phone calls, obviously. How many? I’m not sure.

“I have a couple of question marks. I’ll look forward to some input from some other people and make the tough call.”

The deadline is Wednesday.

If you base the defence job solely on belly fire, Theo Peckham jumped to the front of the line in Calgary. He was physical and in the Flames faces all game.

“I knew coming into this game that this is where I want to be, I want to be an Edmonton Oiler,” said Peckham, who finished even in plus-minus through four games. “It’s something I’ve been trying to do for the last three years — I just gave it my all.”

Not his opinion

Does he think he did enough to make the team?

“It doesn’t matter what I think,” said Peckham, “But hopefully I did.”

Richard Petiot had another solid game that included three blocked shots and 20:21 of ice time (second only to Tom Gilbert). Shawn Belle didn’t make any glaring mistakes, but he didn’t register a single hit in the first 40 minutes and finished the game with one.

Heads up

Rene Bourque put Ladislav Smid (who had off-season neck surgery) into the end boards at an awkward angle midway through the third period. Smid left the game briefly before returning.

“Just a little sore, they’re going to check my nose to see if it’s broken or not, and whether I need a few stitches in my face,” Smid said afterward. “(The neck) is sore right now, but that’s kind of expected. I hope it’s not going to be anything serious.”

Smid said he’s pretty angry about the hit, but there’s not much he can do about it.

“Yeah, but we’ve got a whole season. I kind of put my head down and if you do that you’re usually going to get killed.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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