October 26, 2011
Peckham an unhappy scratch
By DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Theo Peckham is trying to take it all in stride.
The Edmonton Oilers defenceman was once again a healthy scratch on Tuesday, as the Vancouver Canucks were in town.
“Nobody likes sitting out, it’s a tough thing to do,” Peckham said. “It’s times like this when you have to face adversity. It depends on how you bounce back. It’s a situation that a lot of guys have to go through and now it’s my turn to go through it.”
A year ago, Peckham would have been happy to be the team’s seventh defenceman, grateful to just be on the club.
This season, however, the native of Richmond Hill, Ont., was expecting to be one of the Oilers top six defencemen. Yet with the emergence of Cory Potter, who plays on the top power-play unit, and the return of Ryan Whitney, Peckham found himself as the odd-man out.
“I’ve had some conversation with Tom (Renney) and I understand what the situation is,” said Peckham. “They’re just trying to do what they think is best for the team.”
Peckham’s chance to get back in the lineup may come as soon as Thursday, however, after Whitney sustained a knee injury against the Canucks.
Whitney got tied up with Potter in front of the Oilers net and had his knee buckle. At first it appeared Whitney may have re-injured his surgically-repaired ankle, but that wasn’t the case.
Regardless, Peckham is hoping to learn from the experience.
“If you’re not upset about sitting out, there is something wrong,” Peckham said. “For me, it’s about channelling that into making sure that when I do get my next shot, I’m in shape and ready to go.”
It was a reunion of sorts for David Booth making his debut for the Canucks.
The Detroit native, who was acquired in a trade from the Florida Panthers, got a chance to catch up with an old friend in Potter, who was manning the blue line for the Oilers.
“Me, Potter, (Ryan) Kesler, we all grew up playing together,” Booth said. “I think I played with Potter for my whole career with him. I played minors with him, then we went to play junior with him in the U.S.A. program, then we went to Michigan State together. He’s one of my best friends and he’s a really good player. I think Edmonton is lucky to have him on their team.”
Roberto Luongo who has struggled early this season and was jeered in his own building last week, did not get through Tuesday’s contest. The Canucks goaltender was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals in a span of just under five minutes.
Jordan Eberle beat Luongo with a snap shot from the top of the face-off circle. Then Ryan Smyth stole the puck from Luongo behind the net to set up Shawn Horcoff and Taylor Hall buried a soft rebound.
Luongo went into the contest with a 3.17 goals against average and .877 save percentage.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continued his point-per-game pace, collecting an assist on Taylor Hall’s goal in the second period.
The Oilers rookie has eight points in eight games so far this season. He currently leads the club in scoring. While the Oilers have yet to confirm the first overall pick in last summer’s NHL Entry Draft is staying with the team for the remainder of the season, it seems a forgone conclusion.
Nugent-Hopkins is eligible to play one more game before the Oilers can send him back to his junior club in Red Deer before having to pay the first-year of his entry-level contact. If he stays in the lineup, Nugent-Hopkins 10th game would be in Denver on Friday against the Colorado Avalanche.
Traditionally the Sedin twins have feasted on the Oilers. Heading into Tuesday’s contest Daniel Sedin had 58 points in 61 career games against the Oilers, while Henrik Sedin had 60 points in 64 games.
The Oilers plan for keeping the twins in check was to put out the Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Smyth and Ryan Jones line out against them as much as possible.