SUN Hockey Pool

Chorney's big journey

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Taylor Chorney doesn't follow the Edmonton Oilers religiously from his post on the Springfield Falcons blue-line -- he has his own game to worry about.

But when he saw Sheldon Souray go face-first into the end boards last week, the Oilers prospect probably figured it would be a good idea to pack a bag.

Then when Steve Staios felt a little off, Chorney got the call.

"This is only the second time that I've been called up, so it's pretty cool," Chorney said as the Oilers gathered, but did not skate yesterday in preparation for tonight's contest against the Minnesota Wild.

"It's always good when you get a chance to come up here and play a little bit. It's nice that I'm getting called up and getting a chance to play. It's nice that I'm getting a chance to get out there and do my thing. I think every game that I play, I'll probably be a little bit more comfortable and I'm just going to try and build off that."

Chorney, 22, met up with the Oilers on their recent two-game road trip, picking up an assist in a win over the Nashville Predators and suiting up in a loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Oilers' second pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft was the best defenceman not on the opening day roster, and therefore, became the first recalled to fill in on the blue-line when injuries set in.

"I feel more comfortable just being in my second year," Chorney said. "I know I only played two games last year and that helps a little bit.

"But I just think going through my second training camp, going through that process and being around those guys, all that really translates into being a lot more comfortable on the ice. It helps you to be confident in your own skills and helps you realize that maybe you are good enough to belong out there."

A former standout at the University of North Dakota, the native of Thunder Bay, Ont., left school a year early to turn professional. Last year he scored five goals and added 16 assists in 68 games with the Falcons.

So far this season, the six-foot, 196-pound blue-liner was leading the Falcons in scoring before getting called up to the Oilers with two goals and three assists in five games.

"Things are going well for me down there," he said. "I think we have a good team this year. Things have kind of been shaky for the team so far, but I think we'll be a playoff team this year. We have a different group of guys this year, some real good leaders, so I think we'll be doing really well."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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