A chat with Jeff Petry

I believe Petry is and will be a big part of this Oiler defense moving forward. With his ability to skate, move the puck and be good defensively he is a minute-eater. Every team needs these types of guys. He is good on both the power play and penalty kill.

He has not reached the ceiling for his development and Oilers fans should be very happy of that.

Petry joined me on the Jason Strudwick show last week and this is what he had to say.

How are you spending your time during the lockout? There is more time than I have had before that is for sure. I recently went home for two weeks; first time in a while I got to be home for American Thanksgiving and be with my parents. Outside of that I have been treating it like the offseason. I have been working out and continuing to skate a lot. I really want to stay in shape, we don’t know when we will be called back to work. It could be two days from now or two weeks.

With no exact starting point to prepare for is it harder mentally or physically to stay ready? I think it is a combination of both. In the summer you have a date set in your mind as to when you need to be ready. You got your workout plans laid out. Right now I have a plan but it is easier to get off schedule then it is in the summer. I always want to skate as much as possible but it is harder to find ice time.

You are from Michigan, is hockey a popular sport there? It is growing. It has definitely gotten bigger over the years. From when I started to now there is a lot more of it.

Are you the most unique player in the NHL in that your father, Dan Petry, played in the MLB? I am not 100% but I have been told that I am the only guy like that in the league.

How did you get into hockey considering with your dad playing baseball, that sport must have had a huge impact in your household? Baseball was the number one sport in our house growing up. My parents are both from California and moved to Michigan when my dad was playing for the Tigers. With hockey and baseball going in opposite seasons they got us playing both to keep us busy.

How did playing in the AHL help your game? It helped me a great deal. I was disappointed my first camp to get sent down to start the year. The coaching staff allowed me to develop by playing a lot of minutes. I was able to adjust to the professional lifestyle and the travel. It was definitely beneficial for me.

Have you had a chance to talk with Justin Schultz about the differences between college and professional hockey? I came to Edmonton only a few days before all the guys went down to the AHL so I didn’t get a lot of time with Justin. I did skate with him and he is a very talented player. That is obvious with the success he has had so far. He has and will transition well into the pro game.

Did you ever consider playing major junior hockey in Canada? Yes it did cross my mind. I played two years in the USHL. After my first year I had few teams come to me with some interest. But at that point I still had to mature physically and a lot of work to do on my game. Major Junior would have only given me two years to develop whereas college gave me four. The college route made sense.

I remember your first training camp, you did well but since then you have continued to improve. I don’t think you are near your ceiling yet but can you talk about your development so far in your young career. There is always room to grow. My first two years I am happy with the steps I took but still plenty of areas I want to work on. It is a matter of listening to the coaches’ advice and putting their suggestions into my game. I wanted together stronger so I worked on that this summer to put on size without losing quickness.

Where do you think you fit in with the Oilers moving forward? This team has a lot of young talent, that’s obvious night in and night out. I am not as young as some of the guys but I do have room to grow. I want to be a part of this team and see this team grow well past the rebuild stage.

What is it like playing with Ladi Smid and are you able to talk without him interrupting you? Ha! Yeah, he lets me squeeze in a few words! We do communicate very well on the ice. Before games we clarify our game plan. I am little more offensive and he is more physical; it is a good combination. He gives me the ability to jump up in the play. It is great to work with each other and off each other’s strengths.

What’s it like playing against the other teams’ top lines? I have to be ready both mentally and physically. Those top guys have so much skill. You can’t be in awe of their moves or reputations. You can’t take a shift off or think too much; that is when you will get burned. That is what they want to do.

Did you do a lot of power skating growing up? I did some growing up, but I still work on it. In the summers I worked with a guy while I was in college three days a week.

You lived with Ryan Jones last year. Did his love of hunting rub off on you? Yes it did. I actually bought a bow last year and we have been out hunting a lot this year!

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        I think we all are!

        But MM had the same thought I did… With so many people playing in other leagues to stay fresh (or simply make $$$, or both)… it’s worth asking those who opt out why? and what their plan is…

        At this point, you can’t really say you expected the negotiations to go somewhere… seems a bit naive

    • Jason Strudwick

      Thanks for the advice and input. I haven’t seen many other outlets or media personnel have a lot of interviews with NHL players during this lockout. I guess I am a softball guy for having them.

      • bazmagoo

        Wow Studs, very diplomatic. Something tells Mumbai Max’s mom didn’t make his breakfast quite perfectly this morning and forgot to iron his ginch. Grow a pair and stop being so negative dummy!

      • Mumbai Max

        It was not meant as a cheap shot. I think it is normal, fresh from being on the other side, to take it easy on the players.

        I appreciate you doing the article. My point was that there was one obvious question, and thousands of potential and less important questions. By not asking the obvious/tough one, you lose credibility as someone who WILL ask the tough questions. I could draw a lot of analogies to playing, but I think I have made my point.

        You have the credibility (with the players), and the personality to get away with asking tough questions. You punched above your weight as a player, I am hoping you can develop into the same kind of journalist.

        Best wishes.

    • Jason Strudwick

      Ouch. Taking a lot of heat today! You guys are irritable!

      Yes it was the whole conversation. Petry is a great young guy and pretty quiet so a litte less long winded then a Ryan Jones!

  • Jason Strudwick

    Give JS a break… There’s two possible answers to the question: Petry says he doesn’t want to play in Europe or he says Europe wasn’t interested in another D man with no commitment to playing out the season. The important question was asked: what are you doing to make sure your ready to go once this money BS ends?

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      MM’s second comment is over-the-top, but the rest seem fair game to me.

      I agree with you completely here, btw… I just think an important sub-question to this question:

      “The important question was asked: what are you doing to make sure your ready to go once this money BS ends?”

      is…. why doesn’t making sure you are ready include finding somewhere to play hockey?

      I think that is a reasonable, non-gotcha, or whatever, question.

  • Truth

    Nice work. I think there’s a bit different of a dynamic with ex players doing the interview.

    Any chance you could line up Peckham next? Would love to hear why he lasted all of about a week in the ECHL.

  • Truth

    Thanks for posting the interview Jason! I appreciate reading this type of stuff to help get thru the lulls in the work day. Petry is a favourite of mine. Keep up the good work!

  • Mumbai Max

    Hey Struds,

    You have a great show and I like this toned down interview compared the the obvious “why aren’t you playing” interviews.

    You’re always able to give a great view from the players side of things so keep it up. You don’t need to be the tough question reporter, your style is refreshing and down to earth. Keep up the awesome work, my cousin said you were the nicest Oiler he met at your road Christmas road hockey games and it shows.

    Keep on keepin’ on

  • Solid interview Struds. Love your show and absolutely LOVE Fridays at 2pm with you and Gregor. Every friday you and Gregor broadcast the best sports radio show in the country. Keep up the good work! Better than Wilbon and Kornheiser even, IMHO.

  • Jprime

    I honestly don’t care about why Petry isn’t playing — either he doesn’t want to or he is hoping for the season to come around. What else kind response would you expect?

    It’s like what Cabbie Richards has mentioned in the past about asking the same 5 boring questions — doesn’t exactly give you more viewers.

    Jason doesn’t have to ask those type of questions to be that kind of “reporter” to be considered “credible”. He has his own style and niche that he is trying establish.

    Love the show Studs, can’t wait for the segments when the league is back!

  • Jason Strudwick

    hmmmm, so tempting to jump on the heckling train. The interview was a nice work distraction, but the softball comment was funny, so tough.

    Okay how about this: you call your show the Jason Strudwick Show? Couldn’t come up with something a little more creative huh? What are you a photographer? (you know, cause they always name their companies after themselves).

    Perhaps you should do a Nation contest to help think up a clever name for your show. I will kick things off with “Rec League”. That way when haters call or chime in, you can say, “welcome to Rec League, you’re on the air with Jason Strudwick, do you have an incredibly easy to answer question for my guest?”

    And then guests can say, “Ya this is Tony from Fort Saskatchewan, my question is, do you like being a professional athlete? Yes or no, please don’t elaborate in any way.”

    I do have a more serious request, any chance of getting a Kruger interview. He said a lot of stuff at the beginning of summer that was really interesting. Stuff like bringing back Belangier’s game, and utilizing Eager and Hordichuck more. I’m also wondering how he plans on using Yak. Will he be tried out in different combos, or does he have a solid pairing in mind?