SUN Hockey Pool

Peca might play on trip

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

It's not a blockbuster trade, but the Edmonton Oilers are close to acquiring an experienced, playoff-tested checking forward.

And they won't have to give up anything in return when Michael Peca returns to the lineup.

Out since Feb. 6 with an injured groin, Peca skated hard in practice yesterday, felt no ill-effects afterward and figures he could be ready to go sometime during the upcoming four-game road trip.

"I haven't played a game in over a month, so I'd like to get a few more practices in," said Peca, who's only missed six games so far because most of the recovery time was during the Olympic break. "I'll come to the rink (Tuesday), skate, see how it is and evaluate it as every day goes by."

SKATING HARD

"I tried to skate a couple of times and set it back a bit, but I skated hard (Sunday), skated hard (yesterday) and it felt pretty good. I hope to get a couple more practices in and get back."

With the stakes as high as they are, and the games so exciting, Peca is dying to return.

'ENERGY LEVEL'

"Even in the games we played the last couple of days, you can see the energy level starting to pick up. They're games that everybody wants to play, especially when you're on a team that they mean so much to, like ours."

But if he comes back just a little too early, and suffers a relapse, he'd be gone for most of the stretch drive, so he has to make sure it's 100%.

"I don't have a history of groin problems, so I don't foresee it being an ongoing issue. It's just one of those things where I had a little strain on one side, and the other side overcompensated, then it went back to the other side. Hopefully it's over and done."

Craig MacTavish hopes so, too.

"We'll evaluate him and talk to him before, during and after the morning skate and see what he feels his state of readiness is. As soon as he's healthy enough we'll get him in there."


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