SUN Hockey Pool

Chorney on adrenalin

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

CALGARY -- To the Edmonton Oilers the game might not have meant much, but to Taylor Chorney it was the world.

On Friday, the Oilers defenceman made his NHL debut in a 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames. He was back in the lineup last night as the Oilers closed out their season in Calgary.

"It was awesome," Chorney said. "There were a lot of emotions running through me throughout that day. The whole thing was pretty exciting to actually get out there, get a couple of shifts under my belt and then kind of settling in a little bit.

"The biggest thing was just trying to control my emotions, there were so many running through me. I didn't want to get too pumped up or psyche myself out, or anything like that.

"That was the hardest part. After my first shift, I came back to the bench and I was just gassed, so much adrenalin was running through me and I think I burned a lot of it on that first shift.

"But once I made a couple of plays and got adjusted to it, I felt pretty comfortable. I just tried not to do anything too far outside my comfort zone. I just tried to play my game, make plays and not try to do too much, especially since it was my first game, I didn't want to do anything crazy."

Chorney, 21, was the Oilers second pick - 36 overall - in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

He played three years of college hockey at the University of North Dakota before turning pro this season. He spent most of the season with the AHL Springfield Falcons before getting called up two weeks ago when Ladislav Smid was lost for the season with a broken hand.

"I thought he played well," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "He skated hard and did what he needed to do. He's a guy that's going to survive based on his foot speed. For his first game I thought it was a good start."

Chorney had five goals, 16 assist and 22 PIM in 68 games with the Falcons. He also had a team-high minus-29 rating.

On Friday he was partnered with Peckham, getting 14:28 of ice time.

"That helped, just playing with a guy that I'm familiar with and a guy that has been through the situation that I went through not too long ago," Chorney said. "He's kind of going through the same thing and it was good to be going through that experience together."

At five-foot-11, 196-pound, Chorney is not an overly physical defenceman. But he does have very good foot speed and the ability to make the first pass out of the zone.

Chorney also has offensive ability. In his second year at North Dakota, the native of Thunder Bay, collected 31 points in 39 games.

It's the type of game he'll need to develop in order to make the jump to the NHL permanently.

"The game I played in Springfield, I want to try and make it translate here," Chorney said. "I just have to get back to puck in our end, making plays on the breakout, get it up to forwards and chip in on the offence if I get a chance. I just want to make plays and make it easier for everyone else."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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