Bend 'em like Peckham

Lowetide
October 27 2010 11:44AM

Although not technically a rookie, Theo Peckham is spending his first full season in the NHL. His impact is obvious, and he's moving up the depth chart. 

Some of us have long thought that Theo Peckham would be an excellent Edmonton Oiler. Although we don't like to get caught up in the difference between "5D" and "top 4D" there has been some resistance from some quarters in the past in terms of Peckham's potential to play important minutes on an NHL hockey team.

Peckham played 21:16 at even strength last night, trailing only Tom Gilbert in minutes played straight up. Theo Peckham is as tough as nails, a real throwback. He could have played the blue 30 years ago without changing much in terms of style and attitude. He's a willing fighter, and when the Flames laid a big hit early last night it was the kid Peckham who responded with one of his own (without taking a penalty).

HEADS UP

Opposition forwards are forced to keep their heads up when he's around, and he can play. Pat Quinn referenced this after last season:

"When I first saw him (in an Oilers uniform), the scouting report was that he was a tough kid who didn't really know how to play. When he came back (on his most recent call-up), he showed us that he had a little bit more than just being a tough guy. As he played and gained our confidence, he was gaining his own as well. They were really good minutes for him."

Peckham is building on that resume this year. He's healthy, confident and having an impact on the roster and depth chart. In a season where we are celebrating rookies and youth, let's not forget about Theo Peckham.

He's developing into a useful NHL hockey player.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
October 27 2010, 08:34AM
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VMR wrote:

Last season I saw that he had an element to his game that no other Oiler blueliner had, he's physical and mean. It really surprised me when everyone was writing him off and talking about Belle and Petiot out of training camp cause they sure didnt have that element.

If he can continue to learn the game he could easily be a tough shutdown guy like Regehr is for the Flames.

Please never compare an Oiler to a flame especially #28 Compare to any other player in the league, please on any other team!

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#2 Jason Gregor
October 27 2010, 10:56AM
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K-UGER Industrial Smoothing wrote:

I cant believe how many Oiler fans love Theo Peckham. Throughout pre-season he was continually the worst defenseman out there, continually making blind passes out of his own end and struggling to complete a breakout. Its unfathomable to me how this has slipped past so many people's eyes.

Granted, last night he played okay. And obviously being a young guy hes bound to make mistakes, but we don't need a struggling blueliner who can't get the puck up to the forwards, on the stick. This is something Petiot did so well, as well as playing tough. Peckham backed out of a fight with Tim Jackman last night and did with Hordichuk earlier this season.

What is unfathomable is how you consider pre-season games more important than regular season games.

Peckham has been their 2nd most consistent D-man in the regular season. Who cares about preseason.

Also the reason he isn't fighting is because he has bad hand right now. Fighting would be stupid. He would do it if completely necessary, but they need him to play right now.

And Petiot was okay in preseason. He has struggled in the AHL this year. Get over preseaon, it isn't a reflection of real games.

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#3 jdrevenge
October 27 2010, 07:57AM
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Also, everybody keeps mentioning our D as being weak. Is that really the case? I mean our final 2 pair fine but our top four is solid. With a few bubbling under and a potential top five pick this year I'd say we're sitting pretty going forward no?

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#4 Slick
October 27 2010, 08:05AM
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Peckham has shown incredible improvement from the games he played last season to this one. We all knew he was tough and could hit but now he is playing with much more poise in his own zone and consequently he has been very reliable (all things considered) for the copper and blue.

Keep it up Theo!

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#5 Archaeologuy
October 27 2010, 08:20AM
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I honestly cant believe how well Peckham has played. It's been 7 games, but I'm beginning to be less of a doubter with him. He's earning all his ice out there. Good for him.

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#6 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 27 2010, 08:32AM
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Hopefully Plante can come in and do the same things next year.

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#7 MrCondor
October 27 2010, 10:03AM
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We aren't good at making the first pass out of the zone, and the other teams are getting more chances short handed than we are on our powerplays. This rests largely on our D.

I want to do poorly and get a high pick. We are meeting our goals. I don't want huge changes, I'd just rather lose 5-4 instead of 4-1.

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#8 Mugly
October 27 2010, 10:07AM
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@MrCondor

Agreed. Let's just have some fun with the team this year, enjoy the ups and not worry too much about the downs, as long as everything is pointed in the right direction.

I remarked to my friends last night that watching the Oilers is like watching junior hockey - which isn't surprising, given the youth. All peaks and valleys, no in-between. Fun stuff...just not really the stuff that wins championships.

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#9 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
October 27 2010, 11:31AM
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ashley wrote:

I saw this game last night. A couple of observations:

1) Eberle has a good stick. He catches difficult passes well and controls quickly. He uses his stick well on the boards. He sees the ice well because he is not looking at the puck on his stick all the time. When he is on the ice, he has a knack for being where the puck is going to be before it gets there. This is a far better player than I was expecting, especially getting picked late in the first round. He's sort of a cross between Iginla's stickhandling/shot and Weight's shiftiness/creativity. I know those are lofty comparables, but I see enormous upside here, more than I could tell from watching him on TV.

2) MPS and Hall can really skate. Hall looks nervous, almost boxed in at this point. He breaks loose occasionally and shows his promise, but he is young yet, and will be quite good I'm sure. MPS backchecks well as has been noted here before, but seeing him live, you get a feel for his long reach. I don't know if it's long arms or a long stick, but the defenseman don't have anything on his reach like they do on the smaller Oilers forwards.

3) The defence is bad, of course, but actually worse than I could tell from TV. Each player is bad in different ways. The two best by a fair margin last night were Smid and Gilbert in that order. Smid is very impressive, smart, well positioned. He still makes the occasional blunder when he gets pressured, but he is settling down and at his age, is going to be a very good defenseman for many years to come. Gilbert is pretty solid second pairing defenseman on any team, positioning not as good as Smid though. He chases sometimes, or fails to pick up his man in the slot.

Whitney is a problem. Hard to appreciate on TV is how laboured his stride is out there. He looks to be saving himself. I think he is playing in pain, and I wonder how many games he has left. His saving grace is excellent positioning, but his poor footspeed, terrible first step, and below average acceleration are liabilities. His stick is also poor. He makes poor passes from the backend, and has a lot of difficulty holding the puck in at the line in the offensive zone. The play dies a lot off Whitney's stick. I see a player that is a shadow of his former self in Pittsburgh playing out his soon-to-be-injury-shortened career on a 30th place team. It's not the first time, nor will it be the last time that happens.

I know Oilerfans are still admiring the shiny new object that is Whitney, but it is only a matter of time before they sour on him. His point totals are very deceiving as well. Almost all second assists so far, many of which had him contributing nothing at all to the scoring play. His assists are a product of his ice time rather than his actual skill.

4) Strudwick is very slow. He ends up in bad position because of his poor skating. However, you can see the effort in his movements despite his lack of physical ability, and that is worth something in my books (vs Whitney who looks very lazy, but I'm guessing it is pain related rather than lack of desire given what I saw from Whitney in his early career).

I'm not sure why Strudwick fights as much as he does. I'm not a big fan of fights, but I understand their role in the game. I just don't see how throwing 25 ineffective jabs in less than 30 seconds is supposed to inspire your team. I don't think any of his punches ever hit the other guy. Surely the players know what a sham this is?

5) Peckham looks quite good for a rookie. He is making mistakes, mostly accidently, but occasionally overtly when he puts himself far out of position to chase a puck or make a hit. He is far better at this point than what I was expecting. He is an unusual combination of size, quick feet, and grit on a defense corps with zero grit (none of these guys hit). Lots of upside here, and a shining light in the dark blue tunnel.

6) Penner and Hemsky are elite. Penner seems to be getting a rough ride of late, but he is so valuable out there. When he gets the puck, his size and the opposing team's inability to get it from him draws more attention to him than it would any other player and opens the ice up. You can see guys all start cheating toward the puck when Penner gets it. He's pretty good at spotting the open man. He actually skates quite well, but looks kind of slow because he is so big. Good effort, great instincts. And Hemsky, well what can anyone say. What a pleasure it is to watch this man play. He is a magician. I shudder to think what he could do when complemented by two other first line NHL players.

7) Foster is not a very good defenseman. He is a one trick pony, but his one trick, his shot is quick and accurate, so I guess that is worth something.

8) MacIntyre almost jumped off the bench when Gagner fought Jokinen. Like a wild rabid animal he was on his front skate blades for the entire match.

9) Glencross is cheap. He takes cheapshots. He spent an entire shift hounding Brule for a fight putting himself out of the play the entire time, and Brule rebuffed him likely to calls of cowardice. At the time, the Oilers were staging a comeback, so good for Brule not giving in to fighting when the momentum was in the Oilers favour. They both ended up with coincidental minors, and spent the entire time in the penalty box yelling at each other. Great composure from Brule

Longest Comment EVER

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#10 Crackenbury
October 27 2010, 01:20PM
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What's with all the talk about Whitney? 5th in the league in minutes played. 2nd in defenceman scoring. Even +/- on a losing team.

With 30 teams in the league that leaves 60 defenceman to be considered a top pairing. Anyone that thinks Whitney falls outside of that needs to have their head examined, never mind calling him a third pairing. What a joke.

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#11 Jonathan Willis
October 27 2010, 02:32PM
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@ Zed:

I know you were talking about development curve, but let's not mention Stevens as a Peckham comparable. At 23, Peckham's breaking into the league as a regular; at 23 Stevens scored 61 points for the Capitals.

I'm bullish on Peckham, but a Jason Smith-like career is probably the most optimistic I'd be.

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#12 Spartacus
October 27 2010, 07:50AM
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Good game to watch last night. Would have liked to have seen Hall get his first... preferably in OT, but, oh well.

Pecks does look pretty good out there.

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#13 jdrevenge
October 27 2010, 07:55AM
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Smid+Peckham. Future of the shutdown pair in Katz-ville. IMO

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#14 ronaldo
October 27 2010, 08:09AM
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I love the way Wreckam plays. Definitely one of the bright spots so far this season. IMO, I would rank him only behind Whitney in terms of play by a defenseman so far this year. Ya, I know, that's a pretty low bar to reach on this squad but the kid has played well.

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#15 Dodd
October 27 2010, 08:15AM
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jdrevenge wrote:

Also, everybody keeps mentioning our D as being weak. Is that really the case? I mean our final 2 pair fine but our top four is solid. With a few bubbling under and a potential top five pick this year I'd say we're sitting pretty going forward no?

We can't score when we are busy giving it away in our end. Did you catch Whitney's no-look-pass to a Flame stick last night? Gilbert finally had a game worthy of his position and pay last night, but has been pretty bad prior. Our D is bad. Our PK is the worst. BUT these are the things that are part of a young team learning.

I have no problem with having to be patient, but let's not pretend problems don't exist.

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#16 dohfOs
October 27 2010, 08:17AM
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jdrevenge wrote:

Also, everybody keeps mentioning our D as being weak. Is that really the case? I mean our final 2 pair fine but our top four is solid. With a few bubbling under and a potential top five pick this year I'd say we're sitting pretty going forward no?

Our top D is solid on paper, but their play have been far from solid last couple of games. Horribly bad on moving the puck and receiving/stopping it.

If they shape it up we're looking good and I'd say we'll end up in the playoffs! It's not up to our young guns to step up, they're all ready pretty much our best and most consistent players (Eberle, MPS, Peckham and perhaps even Hall), it's up to our "vets" to live up to how good they are - or should be, according to paper.

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#17 VMR
October 27 2010, 08:24AM
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Last season I saw that he had an element to his game that no other Oiler blueliner had, he's physical and mean. It really surprised me when everyone was writing him off and talking about Belle and Petiot out of training camp cause they sure didnt have that element.

If he can continue to learn the game he could easily be a tough shutdown guy like Regehr is for the Flames.

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#18 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 27 2010, 08:25AM
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Nice suprise so far.

I met him in the summer, talked hockey for about 10 minutes. He said he was in good shape physically, but wasn't sure if he was quite there mentally. I'm assuming/it seemed like a bit of a confidence issue, and I think that reflected in pre-season. Seems to have gotten over it now though.

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#19 freeze
October 27 2010, 08:29AM
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I love that Pecks is one of the few Oilers out there that can dish a clean hit. It is badly needed. Penner pissed me off a few times last night by turning when he could have laid a guy out.

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#20 SK Oiler Fan
October 27 2010, 08:34AM
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Playoffs? You want to talk about playoffs? Did you watch the 1st 2 periods last night that were played almost entirely in the Oilers end? That's the worst D in hockey bar none. They're bad on paper and they're bad on the ice.

As a group they're slow, don't read plays well, panicky, not physical enough, and take too many stick penalties.

That's not to say there isn't something to like about Peckhams play thus far, but as a group, 90% of the time they're chaos.

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#21 K-UGER Industrial Smoothing
October 27 2010, 08:36AM
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I cant believe how many Oiler fans love Theo Peckham. Throughout pre-season he was continually the worst defenseman out there, continually making blind passes out of his own end and struggling to complete a breakout. Its unfathomable to me how this has slipped past so many people's eyes.

Granted, last night he played okay. And obviously being a young guy hes bound to make mistakes, but we don't need a struggling blueliner who can't get the puck up to the forwards, on the stick. This is something Petiot did so well, as well as playing tough. Peckham backed out of a fight with Tim Jackman last night and did with Hordichuk earlier this season.

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#22 sloppy joe
October 27 2010, 08:40AM
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I definitely agree that Peckham has been a nice surprise so far - though my expcectations weren't very high after the preseason. I really like his toughness.

I expected Vandermeer to play with that same edge, but I don't feel like he has so far. Seems like he's been too busy coughing up pucks and missing checks to be playing tough. Where's the Vandermeer that beat up SMac a year ago? Having said that, I have to give him props for that beautiful bank pass to Eberle for the shorthanded goal in our 1st game vs. the flames.

Speaking of defence, what was Renney doing with Strudwick on the ice in the last minute of regular time last night, and then again 4 on 4 in overtime (at least one overtime shift to my count)? That's the definition of tempting fate.

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#23 Ducey
October 27 2010, 08:57AM
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Also, everybody keeps mentioning our D as being weak. Is that really the case? I mean our final 2 pair fine but our top four is solid. With a few bubbling under and a potential top five pick this year I'd say we're sitting pretty going forward no?

It is weak. Literally.

There are a few defencemen who are so sublimely skilled (Lidstrom, Neidermeier) that they can play a finesse game. The rest of the best (Keith, Doughty, Pronger) have a significant physical element to their game.

I like Whitney and Gilbert but they lack the nasty toughness and physicality you want from a top Dman. They are more in the mold of puckmovers. IMO they don't have enough skill to get by without toughness as a shutdown pair.

Foster is a placeholder. Smid has some skill but doesn't have the confidence to ever venture close to the net offensively. He tries to play tough but lets face it - he will never scare anyone physically.

Vandermeer and Strudwick are ideally in the bullpen/ pressbox.

A LT has identified, Peckham is the interesting guy. As Iginla found out last night, forwards are going to have to move the puck quickly or risk getting their head taken off. If you want to chirp about getting hit, you risk getting your head taken off again. Peckham is also a very fast skater. I think he could be Jason Smith.

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#24 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 27 2010, 08:59AM
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Need to be patient with guys like Peckham. After writing off so many guys in my younger years Matt Greene made me realize that it takes time to develop and become that shutdown d-man people want.

His play this season just goes to show you that pre-season doesn't always show a true player. Peckham had a slow pre-season and took in to the next step when it counted. Maybe people will remember this next year.

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#25 Ducey
October 27 2010, 09:02AM
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I still think Tambo missed the boat when he failed to grab Pelech off waivers. He is another big mean dman who could have added to this team. He may not be as good as Vandermeer right now but in a few years who knows?

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#26 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 27 2010, 09:03AM
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On the whole our defense is weak, I'm not even sure what to say. I seen some really smart defensive plays by all our d-men yesterday, but for some reason it was countered by some real stupid plays.

I don't know what it is whether it's the style our d are playing or if it's just CGY was putting too much pressure.

Whitney goes out makes a smart play with his stick, then he makes a dumb positioning play that just about costs a goal and then he makes a good positioning play. All on one shift. Consistency looks to be the issue at this point for some of them.

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#27 Crackenbury
October 27 2010, 09:12AM
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Dodd wrote:

We can't score when we are busy giving it away in our end. Did you catch Whitney's no-look-pass to a Flame stick last night? Gilbert finally had a game worthy of his position and pay last night, but has been pretty bad prior. Our D is bad. Our PK is the worst. BUT these are the things that are part of a young team learning.

I have no problem with having to be patient, but let's not pretend problems don't exist.

I thought the same thing about Whitney watching it live. The replay clearly shows him dishing it off to Cogliano, who probably called for it, and Cogliano missing it completely.

There are sure a lot of hints out there that Penner is being actively shopped around. Hopefully Ottawa bites on the Penner/Cogliano tandem. I've always been a supporter of Penner in the past, but his lack of intestinal fortitude is starting to get to me.

I don't know what to make of Cogliano. If he was better defensivley I'd call him Todd Marchant. As it is, I'm not sure what role he fills on this team.

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#28 yegCopywriter
October 27 2010, 09:20AM
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Peckham's been our only defenceman this year that's been consistently willing to play with a physical edge. I've always liked him as a prospect. Looks like he's starting to come into his own.

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#29 Ribs
October 27 2010, 09:21AM
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I love this kids play. When he hits someone it looks like they get vaporized off of the television screen. Hopefully his ancillary skills continue to develop and he becomes a really useful player.

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#30 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
October 27 2010, 09:25AM
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COGLIANO = BUST

Spec said it best yesterday, "Yah the kid can fly, but tell me the other thing he does well"

And I'll leave that question open to the room full of arm chair GM's

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#31 esa tikkanen
October 27 2010, 09:26AM
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I was all for sending Peckham to the minors but he has played very very well. His toughness is much needed for sure.

Anyone hear how foster is doing??

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#32 esa tikkanen
October 27 2010, 09:26AM
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I was all for sending Peckham to the minors but he has played very very well. His toughness is much needed for sure.

Anyone hear how foster is doing??

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#33 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 27 2010, 09:29AM
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Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement wrote:

COGLIANO = BUST

Spec said it best yesterday, "Yah the kid can fly, but tell me the other thing he does well"

And I'll leave that question open to the room full of arm chair GM's

Ya it's too bad, but looking more and more like the case.

I've never really been that big of a Cogs fan, and thought he was widly overated by most Oiler fans, but I also didn't expect him to drop to this level.

For his sake, hopefully a change of scenary does him well.

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#34 Ribs
October 27 2010, 09:31AM
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Tencer says Foster is day to day with a groin injury.

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#35 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 27 2010, 09:32AM
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Crackenbury wrote:

I thought the same thing about Whitney watching it live. The replay clearly shows him dishing it off to Cogliano, who probably called for it, and Cogliano missing it completely.

There are sure a lot of hints out there that Penner is being actively shopped around. Hopefully Ottawa bites on the Penner/Cogliano tandem. I've always been a supporter of Penner in the past, but his lack of intestinal fortitude is starting to get to me.

I don't know what to make of Cogliano. If he was better defensivley I'd call him Todd Marchant. As it is, I'm not sure what role he fills on this team.

Whether or not Cogliano missed it or not, isn't hockey 101 tell you not to throw the puck in front of your net when the other team is attacking?

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#36 Archaeologuy
October 27 2010, 09:41AM
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Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement wrote:

COGLIANO = BUST

Spec said it best yesterday, "Yah the kid can fly, but tell me the other thing he does well"

And I'll leave that question open to the room full of arm chair GM's

Cogliano played pretty well in the last half of that game. He currently has exactly as many points as Taylor Hall. I'm not ready to call him a bust. He has some ability in there, but I dont know if he's going to be a fit here long term at C.

Cogliano isnt costing this team wins. It looked like he's started to play better over the last few games. I'm gonna give him a little more time.

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#37 Crackenbury
October 27 2010, 09:42AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Whether or not Cogliano missed it or not, isn't hockey 101 tell you not to throw the puck in front of your net when the other team is attacking?

This isn't hockey 101. That's a play Cogliano needs to make. Defenceman need an outlet and when your only outlet is calling for the puck he better be able to handle the pass.

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#38 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
October 27 2010, 09:45AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Ya it's too bad, but looking more and more like the case.

I've never really been that big of a Cogs fan, and thought he was widly overated by most Oiler fans, but I also didn't expect him to drop to this level.

For his sake, hopefully a change of scenary does him well.

It is too bad, and as a fan theres nothing more i'd like than to see this guy score 20... but we're on year 4 of this gameplan now and i feel like i'm watch Groundhog's Day.

He is a guy I could see doing well somewhere else, but probley always as a depth player... 40 points a season max.

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#39 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
October 27 2010, 09:50AM
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Crackenbury wrote:

This isn't hockey 101. That's a play Cogliano needs to make. Defenceman need an outlet and when your only outlet is calling for the puck he better be able to handle the pass.

Then you throw it up the boards or take it the other way behind the net. Gilbert and Hall were also in the zone.

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#40 Soft Hands McSteeley - FIST Movement
October 27 2010, 09:54AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Cogliano played pretty well in the last half of that game. He currently has exactly as many points as Taylor Hall. I'm not ready to call him a bust. He has some ability in there, but I dont know if he's going to be a fit here long term at C.

Cogliano isnt costing this team wins. It looked like he's started to play better over the last few games. I'm gonna give him a little more time.

While I will agree that he played better this game, and I will agree there is some ability there... but only in his skating, kid's hands are worse than Stone Hands McOsta. I just don't see what he does other than skate well. Can't win a faceoff, can't check, can't shoot, can pass, can't dangle.

On the other side, Ithought Peckham has been great for a #5/6 Guy... has done what he needs to do, just need to keep the physical play going.

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#41 Mugly
October 27 2010, 09:58AM
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Nice article, LT. I've always liked Peckham, despite some ups and downs that he's had along the way. I think he's a good, tough player that gets into the game, and wears his heart on his sleeve....and that's a really good thing for a team that seems to battle with being uninvolved and unemotional on some nights. My question for you - does he remind you of a current or recent NHL player? I'm trying to think of someone, but I'm coming up blank....maybe a Matt Greene type?

Thanks.

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#42 VK63
October 27 2010, 09:59AM
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@K-UGER Industrial Smoothing

Hes nursing a bad hand, thats why he didnt go with Jackman.

I really dont think Theo has much to prove around the league in the tough department... that word is out.

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#43 Dan the Man
October 27 2010, 10:16AM
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It would be blissful if Peckham could turn out to be Jason Smith-like.

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#44 Dyckster
October 27 2010, 10:17AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Then you throw it up the boards or take it the other way behind the net. Gilbert and Hall were also in the zone.

I agree with Crackenbury,

The game is incredibly fast, on ice communication is essential. If a forward is flying through the defensive zone while calling for the puck the D should be confident if he gets the puck there, the puck will get out of the zone....period. Cogs shoulda made that play. Throwing it up the boards more often then not leads to a turnover.

The play we saw yesterday should have lead to the Oilers breaking out of the zone.

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#45 Quicksilver ballet
October 27 2010, 10:17AM
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Thought the Oilers were going to dress MacIntyre for this game. Late in the second period when the game turned, if MacIntyre could have put one of the Phlegms through the boards, we would have won this in regulation. Sending anyone of Regehr,Bourque,Tanguay,Jokenen through the glass in the lap of a fan would have been enough and force the flames to fold. The Oilers missed an opportunity here.

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#46 Crackenbury
October 27 2010, 10:37AM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Then you throw it up the boards or take it the other way behind the net. Gilbert and Hall were also in the zone.

There was nothing wrong with the play. It simply wasn't execucted properly. Sometimes that happens. Cogliano wasn't in front of the net, he was to the side. If he handled the pass the puck wouldn't have ended up in the net.

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#47 Archaeologuy
October 27 2010, 10:51AM
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Crackenbury wrote:

There was nothing wrong with the play. It simply wasn't execucted properly. Sometimes that happens. Cogliano wasn't in front of the net, he was to the side. If he handled the pass the puck wouldn't have ended up in the net.

The pass was ill advised. Even Whitney himself admits he made the wrong play (read Spector's latest article). The pass was a no-look softie to the side of the net that was in the feet of the intended target while there was pressure in the Oiler zone. That's the definition of "something wrong with the play". It never should have happened. The only out I can give the guy is that there is no reason that Gilbert should have been where he was. Whitney had little to no support from his partner.

Unlike Stauffer, I'm not blaming Cogliano for not receiving a sh*tty pass. Even if Cogliano was calling for it, Whitney should have known better than to softly chip the puck out to that spot on the ice in that situation.

Bad moves by 3 Oilers on that play. Cogliano for asking for it, Gilbert for taking himself out of a position to help, and Whitney for taking the bad chance.

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#48 ashley
October 27 2010, 10:52AM
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I saw this game last night. A couple of observations:

1) Eberle has a good stick. He catches difficult passes well and controls quickly. He uses his stick well on the boards. He sees the ice well because he is not looking at the puck on his stick all the time. When he is on the ice, he has a knack for being where the puck is going to be before it gets there. This is a far better player than I was expecting, especially getting picked late in the first round. He's sort of a cross between Iginla's stickhandling/shot and Weight's shiftiness/creativity. I know those are lofty comparables, but I see enormous upside here, more than I could tell from watching him on TV.

2) MPS and Hall can really skate. Hall looks nervous, almost boxed in at this point. He breaks loose occasionally and shows his promise, but he is young yet, and will be quite good I'm sure. MPS backchecks well as has been noted here before, but seeing him live, you get a feel for his long reach. I don't know if it's long arms or a long stick, but the defenseman don't have anything on his reach like they do on the smaller Oilers forwards.

3) The defence is bad, of course, but actually worse than I could tell from TV. Each player is bad in different ways. The two best by a fair margin last night were Smid and Gilbert in that order. Smid is very impressive, smart, well positioned. He still makes the occasional blunder when he gets pressured, but he is settling down and at his age, is going to be a very good defenseman for many years to come. Gilbert is pretty solid second pairing defenseman on any team, positioning not as good as Smid though. He chases sometimes, or fails to pick up his man in the slot.

Whitney is a problem. Hard to appreciate on TV is how laboured his stride is out there. He looks to be saving himself. I think he is playing in pain, and I wonder how many games he has left. His saving grace is excellent positioning, but his poor footspeed, terrible first step, and below average acceleration are liabilities. His stick is also poor. He makes poor passes from the backend, and has a lot of difficulty holding the puck in at the line in the offensive zone. The play dies a lot off Whitney's stick. I see a player that is a shadow of his former self in Pittsburgh playing out his soon-to-be-injury-shortened career on a 30th place team. It's not the first time, nor will it be the last time that happens.

I know Oilerfans are still admiring the shiny new object that is Whitney, but it is only a matter of time before they sour on him. His point totals are very deceiving as well. Almost all second assists so far, many of which had him contributing nothing at all to the scoring play. His assists are a product of his ice time rather than his actual skill.

4) Strudwick is very slow. He ends up in bad position because of his poor skating. However, you can see the effort in his movements despite his lack of physical ability, and that is worth something in my books (vs Whitney who looks very lazy, but I'm guessing it is pain related rather than lack of desire given what I saw from Whitney in his early career).

I'm not sure why Strudwick fights as much as he does. I'm not a big fan of fights, but I understand their role in the game. I just don't see how throwing 25 ineffective jabs in less than 30 seconds is supposed to inspire your team. I don't think any of his punches ever hit the other guy. Surely the players know what a sham this is?

5) Peckham looks quite good for a rookie. He is making mistakes, mostly accidently, but occasionally overtly when he puts himself far out of position to chase a puck or make a hit. He is far better at this point than what I was expecting. He is an unusual combination of size, quick feet, and grit on a defense corps with zero grit (none of these guys hit). Lots of upside here, and a shining light in the dark blue tunnel.

6) Penner and Hemsky are elite. Penner seems to be getting a rough ride of late, but he is so valuable out there. When he gets the puck, his size and the opposing team's inability to get it from him draws more attention to him than it would any other player and opens the ice up. You can see guys all start cheating toward the puck when Penner gets it. He's pretty good at spotting the open man. He actually skates quite well, but looks kind of slow because he is so big. Good effort, great instincts. And Hemsky, well what can anyone say. What a pleasure it is to watch this man play. He is a magician. I shudder to think what he could do when complemented by two other first line NHL players.

7) Foster is not a very good defenseman. He is a one trick pony, but his one trick, his shot is quick and accurate, so I guess that is worth something.

8) MacIntyre almost jumped off the bench when Gagner fought Jokinen. Like a wild rabid animal he was on his front skate blades for the entire match.

9) Glencross is cheap. He takes cheapshots. He spent an entire shift hounding Brule for a fight putting himself out of the play the entire time, and Brule rebuffed him likely to calls of cowardice. At the time, the Oilers were staging a comeback, so good for Brule not giving in to fighting when the momentum was in the Oilers favour. They both ended up with coincidental minors, and spent the entire time in the penalty box yelling at each other. Great composure from Brule

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#49 Bill up North
October 27 2010, 11:01AM
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K-UGER Industrial Smoothing wrote:

I cant believe how many Oiler fans love Theo Peckham. Throughout pre-season he was continually the worst defenseman out there, continually making blind passes out of his own end and struggling to complete a breakout. Its unfathomable to me how this has slipped past so many people's eyes.

Granted, last night he played okay. And obviously being a young guy hes bound to make mistakes, but we don't need a struggling blueliner who can't get the puck up to the forwards, on the stick. This is something Petiot did so well, as well as playing tough. Peckham backed out of a fight with Tim Jackman last night and did with Hordichuk earlier this season.

Pre-season really means squat. Glad you're not the GM.

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#50 Bill up North
October 27 2010, 11:03AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

What is unfathomable is how you consider pre-season games more important than regular season games.

Peckham has been their 2nd most consistent D-man in the regular season. Who cares about preseason.

Also the reason he isn't fighting is because he has bad hand right now. Fighting would be stupid. He would do it if completely necessary, but they need him to play right now.

And Petiot was okay in preseason. He has struggled in the AHL this year. Get over preseaon, it isn't a reflection of real games.

You beat me to it Jason. Well said!

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