Oilers Snapshots: Chorney waiting for his shot

Ryan Tomko and Cecilia Wower show off their Oilers Halloween costumes at Rexall Place in Edmonton,...

Ryan Tomko and Cecilia Wower show off their Oilers Halloween costumes at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Oct. 30, 2011. (CODIE McLACHLAN/QMI Agency)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:48 PM ET

EDMONTON - Taylor Chorney has yet to play a game with the St. Louis Blues, but the former Edmonton Oilers defenceman is just happy to still be in the league.

Chorney was claimed off waivers by the Blues earlier this month as the Oilers were trying to send him back to their minor league affiliate in Oklahoma City.

So far, Chorney’s been a healthy scratch in the eight games he’s been with his new club.

“We were one defenceman down, then he came in and we got a guy back,” said Blues head coach Davis Payne. “It’s just a matter of him staying patient until the opportunity presents himself.

“I know he’s ready, he’s been working his tail off, he’s a great kid, has a great attitude towards it and depth in that position is always something that gets tested.”

The Thunder Bay native was originally selected by the Oilers in the second round — 36th overall — of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

He’s been alternating between the Oilers farm team and the NHL for the pervious three seasons.

“I was surprised I was claimed,” Chorney said. “Usually guys don’t get claimed this early in the season.

“But it’s been good even though I haven’t played yet. They’ve been really good to me here, made me welcomed and I’m staying in shape with all the extra skating I’ve been doing after practice.”

The Blues have to keep Chorney on their NHL roster or else place him on waivers if they intend to send him down to their AHL affiliate in Peoria. The Oilers would have first crack at reacquiring him.

Payne did not know much about the 24-year-old before the Blues picked him up.

“That all came through pro scouts and management,” Payne said. “We got some guys some guys on our team that are familiar with him, Chris Porter and T.J. Oshie have played with him, so it was easy for him to come right in and fill that role.”

BRUISING NIGHT

Eric Belanger has had better nights.

The Oilers centre was twice pasted from behind although only one was considered a penalty.

In the first period, T.J. Oshie hammered Belanger face-first into the boards. Oshie hit Belanger right in the numbers and earned a boarding penalty on the play. The Oilers were unable to capitalize on the power play.

In the second, Belanger was again belted from behind, but on that occasion the referees turned a blind eye to the play allowing Vladimir Sobotka to skate away.

Belanger had to leave to the game momentarily, but returned in the third period only to take a boarding penalty himself after rubbing out Nikita Nikitin along the end boards.

THREADING THE NEEDLE

Oilers fans may have needed to take a second look at who sent Taylor Hall in all alone with a great breakaway pass in the first period.

Theo Peckham, who’s struggled to keep a regular spot in the lineup this season, made an impressive stretch pass out of his own zone to Hall, who was denied on the clear-cut breakaway.

Peckham, who has yet to record a point this season is more renown for his defensive play than offensive abilities, but he did fire a puck through a photographers hole last season in Phoenix, so does have some accuracy.

TOUGH TIMES IN GOAL

Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak has been struggling to find his form this season with the Blues. The goaltender, who single-handily backstopped the Montreal Canadiens to the Eastern Conference final two years ago, went into Sunday’s game with a 1-4 record, a 3.47 goals against average and .835 save percentage.

So far he’s been upstaged by backup Brian Elliott, who has four of the five Blues wins this season.

“Jaro is our No. 1 goaltender, he know that he hasn’t played up to his capabilities, but we have other guys in that category,” said Payne. “That demonstrates the importance of depth on your hockey club and Brian Elliott has come in and done a heck of a job. Now it’s up to Jaro to go through his preparation and perform like he’s capable. I don’t know if we have an open competition although we do have two good goaltenders.”

Payne is confident, his starter will one day regain his form. Sunday, however, wasn’t that day.

“He’s a good pro, and has a lot of pride in his performance,” Payne said. “He recognizes that against a good offensive hockey club, he needs to be sharp.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNdvandiest


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