Peca down to fourth line

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

CALGARY -- Michael Peca may be the most expensive fourth-liner the Edmonton Oilers have ever had.

His substantial paycheque has already been the source of much discussion among fans.

And his stats -- a single goal and five assists in 20 games -- have added fuel to the fire.

Now that he's moved down to the fourth line, alongside Georges Laraque and Todd Harvey for tonight's game against the Calgary Flames, the pressure to show he's giving the Oilers value for money will only increase.

"I have those expectations and everybody has those expectations but at this stage of my career, the only thing I want to do is win," said Peca, who hasn't found the back of the net since Oct. 18.

"I realize when you make $4 million everybody wants you to do more. I'm not concerned about what people think. If we're winning games, I'll be a happy guy."

Peca was demoted following Wednesday's game in Minnesota.

He not only turned the puck over inside the Oilers' zone, but picked up the wrong man in the backcheck -- which led to the Wild's tying goal early in the third.

He spent most of the remaining time on the bench, save for a key faceoff and some penalty-killing.

"I realize it was a big mistake," said Peca.

"The turnover didn't sit well with me and it still hasn't. It doesn't happen very often and I think everybody knows that. Ethan Moreau said he'd bail me out and sure enough he did."

Moreau's goal gave the Oilers a 4-3 win. For Peca, the simple fix is just some good luck.

"He needs a break around the net," said head coach Craig MacTavish.

"The team is still winning and he's still contributing. It's a case where he needs a change."

DANDY DION: It will almost certainly come down to a three-way battle of the highlight reels for the Calder Trophy.

There will be the spectacular goals of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. But the third member of the trio has his own set of quality moments on tape.

Whether a hard-hitting, solid defenceman like Flames star Dion Phaneuf -- who has 14 points in 24 games -- can overtake two explosive offensive talents is another matter.

"All I can do is play,"said Phaneuf, an Edmonton native.

"Those guys are two very talented players. They've had very good starts, that's no secret. All I concentrate on is going to the rink every day and trying to improve.

"It's been a good start for me but I know I've got a lot of work to do to keep improving."


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