EDMONTON - Jeff Petry became the first son of a Major League Baseball player ever to score a National Hockey League goal Thursday night.
“I didn’t know that,” said the Edmonton Oilers’ rookie defenceman.
It had to happen eventually.
The son of 1984 18-game winner and World Series champion Dan Petry of the Detroit Tigers, according to the statistical wizards at the Elias Sports Bureau, is the first son of a big-league ball player to ever make it to the NHL.
“I didn’t know that either,” said the kid who wasn’t born in time to watch that World Series which your correspondent happened to cover, watching the riots from the roof of Tiger Stadium and not able to leave the ball park until 4 a.m., long after pizza was helicoptered to the mound where his dad had pitched to serve the members of the stranded media contingent.
Petry said the puck will go to his family home, but it’s not likely it will go up beside a treasured baseball from his dad’s first strikeout or the baseball from his first win or from that World Series.
“I don’t know where he has those sorts of things tucked away. If he’s got them, I’ve never seen them,” said Petry.
He said he’s going to treasure his puck, though.
“It’s a special day. Obviously it would have been better with a win, but it was a pretty good goal to get,” he said of the shot from the point which reduced the score to 3-2 in a game the Oilers lost 4-2 on an empty net goal.
“I’ve had a couple of opportunities before,” said the call-up who looks completely comfortable playing 23:24 like he did last night.
“A couple of guys on the team were talking to me about getting it before the game (Thursday) night.”
Petry said he knows his parents, who were here to watch his first two games as an NHLer, were watching. But they may have known it was in the net before he did.
“I didn’t see it. I didn’t see the light go on either. I saw everybody stand up behind the net, though.”
Petry earned somewhat less exclusive membership into another club with his goal against the Dallas Stars Thursday. He is now a member of the Edmonton Oilers Group of Seven.
When he scored with his laser from the point late in the second period, he became the seventh member of the Oilers to score his first NHL goal this season.
That stat certainly says something about the youth movement in Edmonton as you sit through the Oil Change, the Dive For Five or whatever you wish to call the reboot of the franchise.
As much as you may have wanted to rip this hockey club for playing so well in the first period and then, for no identifiable reason, managed to lose all their energy for most of the second, Petry blasted that shot home. It was one of those moments to remind all what we’re dealing with here.
Taylor Hall. Jordan Eberle. Magnus Paajarvi. Linus Omark. Ryan O’Marra. Theo Peckham. Jeff Petry.
“It does sort of speak volumes doesn’t it,” said coach Tom Renney. “It’s a byproduct of what our roster looks like with all the rookies. The bottom line is gaining from experience and having little successes for the first time on a regular basis. Having those little successes can build into bigger and better things.
“Hopefully it is the first of many for him.”
Reminders like that are more than necessary right now as the Oilers have two wins to show for their last 15 games and find themselves only four points ahead of the 30th place New Jersey Devils and an opportunity looming large to win the second straight first pick in the NHL Entry Draft.
Taylor Hall has taken note of all the first NHL goals being scored here this year.
“It bodes well for the future,” said the first No. 1 pick in Oilers history. “It reminds me so much of my first year in junior. There were so many guys in their rookie years. We had seven guys, a third of the team, who were 16 years old. We were the nucleus of two Memorial Cup champions,” he said of the Windsor Spitfires with whom he became the first ever back-to-back Memorial Cup MVP.
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