SUN Hockey Pool

Progress pleases Peca

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:26 PM ET

CHICAGO -- Michael Peca had a relatively quiet night on the scoresheet in his return to the Edmonton Oilers lineup against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

More important, Peca's first game since he was knocked out of action with a concussion against the Blue Jackets on Nov. 1 produced little in the way of ill-effects. He'll be ready to go again tonight against Chicago.

"I didn't feel too bad," Peca said before an optional skate yesterday.

"It's one of those things where you want to work your way in progressively.

"I could tell early on I wasn't really sharp on faceoffs, but I was able to turn that around as the game went on."

Peca, 31, played 15:18, the bulk of that at even strength on a line with Ethan Moreau and Fernando Pisani.

He played 11:36 at even strength and 3:42 on the penalty killing unit. He didn't get any power-play time.

"After the game, I did have a little bit of pressure in my head, but nothing that led me to believe that I'd regressed at all," Peca said.

TOUGH TALK

Georges Laraque has made a mental note of something said by Columbus hammer Jody Shelley, who seemed to be looking for trouble with Laraque out of commission Friday with a swollen left thumb.

Shelley didn't take any real liberties, but he did try to get something going with Jason Smith.

Shelley came calling on the Oilers captain and asked Smith if he was a "tough guy."

"When you're not on the ice or in the game and there's a situation involving another tough guy, you remember it," Laraque said.

"That's disrespecting you. You have to respect that the other guy is out of the lineup.

"You can play hard and tough, but to verbally tussle with another guy when you know he's not going to fight, it's stupid."

The Oilers play Columbus again on Feb. 7.

AROUND THE RINK: At 3-2 on this trip coming into tonight, a win will guarantee the Oilers eight of a possible 14 points going into tomorrow's swing finale in Denver.


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