Numbers game


"Sorry, kid, No. 99 isn’t available. And don’t even ask about 11, 17, 7, 3 or 31. You’ll take this one and you’ll like it…" Edmonton Oilers’ equipment man Sparky Kulchisky has handed out a lot of jerseys during his career, but he’d never hung up jersey No. 49 in a player’s cubicle on game day until last night. Theo Peckham’s first NHL game also marked a first in the numbers game for the Oilers. Peckham emerged from the tunnel against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena draped in No. 49, a number worthy of a training camp long shot if ever there was one. Peckham’s the first to wear that digit in franchise history. No worries, though, the hulking 20-year-old rookie defenceman didn’t look the least bit out of place paired with Denis Grebeshkov in a 2-1 overtime win over the Jackets. "It feels pretty good," said Peckham, who was recalled from Springfield of the AHL. "It’s a big jump." In fact, Peckham’s debut was rather eventful. Early on, he rode Columbus forward Andrew Murray hard into the crease and levelled Mathieu Garon—the coaches might want to cue up that 2006 playoff footage of Marc-Andre Bergeron and Andrew Ladd taking out Dwayne Roloson. No harm done on this bit of crease-crashing, though. Later, Peckham had Columbus tough guy Jared Boll blowing snot bubbles with a clean open-ice hit in front of the benches. Still in the second period, he got into a "Your momma" exchange in Garon’s crease, pushing around Nikolai Zherdev like a school yard bully looking for lunch money. All in all, Peckham finished the night even with 18 shifts, 13:22 in ice time and two blocked shots. One oddity—for a number that’s about as popular as the salad bar at a convention for reporters, Peckham wasn’t alone last night. Dan Fritsche of the Jackets, who sent the game to OT with one second to go in regulation time, obviously lost a bet as well and wore No. 49. AND… No surprise Boll and Zack Stortini threw down and tossed ’em in this one. Boll leads the NHL with 23 fighting majors and Stortini sits third with 20 fighting majors. —Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5 p.m. on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.

  • 1011011

    I can't tell you how cool it is to read Robin Browlnee game reviews containing the words "snot bubbles." This is how I want my sports to be – this site just got WAY cooler

  • Ian


    I know others would like to know all about the game tonight, but this was exactly what I was looking for. I've kept my eye on Peckham since he was drafted and I've been continually impressed with his improvement. Like you say, he's still rough around the edges, but this guy is certainly someone to watch. I don't know what his career will end up like, but the Oilers could use another tough SOB defender.

    I was somewhat disappointed the Oilers never went for Nick Petrecki at this last draft (similar style to Peckham), but the steady improvement in some of our prospects is great to see. Maybe it wasn't necessary for the Oilers to take Petrecki… Peckham's already done well enough to make it to play an NHL game. Good job Theo!

  • Ad Rock

    Oilers4lyfe: That would almost be an accurate statement if you posted it about three months ago. Did you actually watch the fight with Boll? Stortini clearly caught him with a free clean shots. I have never understood the dislike for a 4th line rookie who plays hard and will ALWAYS stick up for his team-mates. What is there to possibly dislike?

  • RobinB

    oilers4lyfe: Not sure if you're trying to be funny, but you haven't been paying attention if you think Stortini is a punching bag.

    Bob Stauffer and I were more critical of Stortini early this season than anybody — so much so the Oilers PR staff tried to tell us to lay off him — but he's worked hard and grown into his role in the last two months.

    He's never going to be an overpowering heavyweight like Georges, but he's an honest player who is willing to work and to learn.
    Let me tell you this: Ethan Moreau told me in a private conversation just last week that he has all the time in the world for Stortini because he works his butt off and he walks into the dressing room every day thrilled to be an Oiler.

    Maybe think twice before dumping on a player like that for the sake of a lame attempt at being funny.

  • Christopher Brass

    ya PECKHAM!!!!
    here's to a solid foundation for the OILERS on the blueline…. WRECKHAM!!!

    get staois/MACt to teach him all about shot blockin.. and this kid will be FINE!!!!

  • TonyRomo

    Robin –

    I have found my keys, thank you.

    Additionally if Stortini is good enough for Moreau, he is good enough for me. Honestly, an endorsement like that from the Captain should shut a lot of people up in the Nation. There was a player a few years ago who came to the team and kind of sucked, but worked harder than anyone and he turned into Shaun Horcoff. And then he also cured the plague with his tears

  • RobinB

    RE: A conversation and shooting the breeze while sitting around as opposed to an on-record interview . . . shouldn't have used the word "private." It's not like Ethan and I were sharing a moment or anything, but you knew that, right?