SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers’ Peckham late to Avery incident

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:59 PM ET

Sean Avery was probably fortunate Theo Peckham was not on the ice at the time.

Had the Edmonton Oilers defenceman been anywhere near the New York Rangers forward after his cowardly sucker punch on Ladislav Smid on Sunday, he may have needed assistance skating off as well.

But Peckham wasn’t able to get to Avery as he was being escorted off the ice, although his attempt started up a melee late in the third period.

“I let my emotions get the best of me and I wanted to send a message, but I may have gone about it the wrong way,” Peckham said on Monday.

“It’s tough when you see a guy that battles as hard as Smid does — he’s always there for you — getting helped off the ice by one of the trainers and then the guy (Avery) goes by laughing at your bench. I didn’t take that too well and from there everybody knows what happened.”

Peckham had a ringside seat of the incident, which began when Avery hammered Colin Fraser along the boards.

The hit was clean, but that didn’t prevent Smid from skating over to Avery challenging him to a fight.

Having apparently been turned down, Smid took his eye off the Rangers agitator, who then quickly dropped his gloves and landed a shot, sending the Oilers defenceman to the ice.

“A lot of people talk about the code we have for each other, and I’m a big believer in it,” Peckham said. “It’s definitely something he (Avery) doesn’t follow.

“If I’m going to hit a guy, I’m going to look him in the eyes and do it. I’m not going to wait for him to turn his back on you.”

Smid needed help getting off the ice and did not practise with the team on Monday.

It’s not known whether he’ll be available for Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks due to a possible concussion.

Peckham left practice early, nursing a sore wrist, which he re-aggravated earlier in the contest and not in the ensuing fight with Brian Boyle, who grabbed him in the attempt to get at Avery.

“It’s a tough situation when you watch your teammate get lifted off the ice and the other guy is laughing at you,” Peckham said. “I kind of took things into my own hands. He was laughing. The last thing I remember is skating over to the door trying to grab him and him running away. As soon as the linesman came in, he came back and started lipping again. It’s pretty typical of him.”

Never too far from controversy, this is simply the latest incident by a player in Avery who has trouble finding teammates that like him.

Two years ago when Avery lacerated his spleen during the playoffs, it’s rumoured not a single member of his team visited him in the hospital.

“I’ve watched him on TV for the past four or five years, but now I understand,” Peckham said. “It’s one thing being an aggravator, I’m an aggravator, I can get under the other team’s skin. But I don’t do things like that.

“This is the first time I’ve played against him. It’s tough to say how he does keep getting away with it. He keeps taking liberties on other guys and nobody has seemed to take a cheap shot at him yet. It’s well over due.”

Unfortunately for Smid, it proved to be a painful lesson on never underestimating how low Avery is capable of going.

“Hats off to Laddy to go in there in a teammate’s defence,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “That’s good. He compromised himself, he should have known who he was up against and taken it from there.

“I thought Laddy presented himself well on behalf of his teammate. The consequence beyond that, I’m sure it’s something that he’d rather not have.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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