THEO PECKHAM: SOUND MIND AND BODY?

Theo Peckham had a good laugh on Jason Gregor’s Show on TEAM 1260 today, and it wasn’t about his listed weight of 235 pounds in the Edmonton Oilers media guide, although the guffaws were most certainly related to it.

"I love cheeseburgers," admitted Peckham, who was no nearer his listed weight of 235 pounds last season than I am to an appearance on the cover of GQ Magazine. "I love burgers . . . just any type of burger, anything. I haven’t had on in a about two-and-half weeks and it’s killing me."

I don’t know exactly what Peckham weighed last year, but my best guess is he tipped the scales closer to 250 on his six-foot-two frame than 235. A love of cheeseburgers will do that, even to a pro athlete like Peckham, who gets more exercise in a week during the NHL season than most of us do in a full year.

While a guy who writes about hockey might be able to get away with that – I know a scribe the same height as Peckham who arrived in Edmonton in 1989 weighing 220 pounds and bent the beams at 315 in 2010 after years of touring NHL restaurants – a guy who plays hockey for a living cannot.

That became apparent to me every time I saw Peckham in the Oilers dressing room this season – fat is fat no matter how you dress it up – and I’m hoping it’s clear to Peckham because it needs to be if he intends on staying in Edmonton’s plans beyond the one-year contract for $1.075 million he just signed.

There’s still a place for fat guys pushing three bills or more up in the press box. Down on the ice? Not so much.

TIME TO GET SERIOUS

It’s not all about weight, of course. Body composition and a whole bunch of other measures play into the equation, but the bottom line and square one for a limited, third-pairing defenseman like Peckham, who is a better athlete than most people think he is, is he has to be in shape.

Peckham, only 24 as he gets ready for his fifth season with the Oilers, needs to be leaner to give himself a chance. Of course, Peckham has to be combative, smart and play a simple game, but everything for a naturally big-bodied guy like Theo begins with being in shape.

To that end, Peckham is spurning his desires for those big patty stacks in favor of workout sessions with fitness guru Norm Lacombe, who looks like he’s in better shape now, in his 50s, than when he played. That’s the first step in Peckham getting back to the form he showed in 2010-11 before his struggles of last season.

With just a one-year deal in place, Peckham can’t afford another season like he had in 2011-12, when he played just 54 games and was made a healthy scratch by Tom Renney with regularity. The shape he was in and confidence issues played a significant role in that.

Touted as a comer destined to be stay-at-home, shot-blocking shutdown type after 2010-11, Peckham is today behind Ryan Whitney, Jeff Petry, Ladislav Smid, Nick Schultz, Justin Schultz and Corey Potter on the defense depth charts going into 2012 training camp. He doesn’t have more room to slip if he intends being part of the plan moving forward.

BACK ON THE HORSE

If Peckham commits to getting in shape and back down to 230 pounds or so, as he said was his goal in his interview with Gregor, he’s got a chance to be what a lot of people thought he might become just a year ago.

The other thing I see with Peckham, as I mentioned, has been lack of confidence. With the kind of tough, physical game Peckham plays, and has to play, I trace that back to a fight he lost to Nathan Horton at Rexall Place Feb. 27, 2011. Peckham got KOd in that scrap. He hasn’t been the same since.

While it’s a lot tougher to do than it is to say, Peckham has to find a way to put that fight behind him and regain the edge he played with. If you’re going to step up on guys as Peckham must, and if you’re going to be the antagonistic, yappy needler he is, then, rest assured, somebody isn’t going to like it and the gloves are going to come off.

That’s a bell Peckham has to be willing to answer again. Perhaps a chat with assistant coach Kelly Buchberger might come in handy on that front. Bucky often took a licking and always found a way to dust himself off and come back for more. Buchberger always got back on the horse. Peckham must, as well.

If Peckham can get his body and his head straight, there’s a player there.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Reg Dunlop

    We need him for depth for now as injuries have plagued us for years . Still , he is more an ANL player than an NHL one . Has more than ample NHL toughness , but rest of game AHL level at best . Easy to get out of shape with our seasons being short – no playoffs . It’s the degree of out of shape . Mind you , he did play i believe in AHL playoffs .

    Nothing to get overly concerned about taking 1-4 weeks off of ridgid training during off season . In fact is is generally good , and not difficult to reapply and come back even stronger mentally and physically . Overtraining can prove to be negative . A little R and R never usually hurts anyone – just the opposit . Strenuous workouts will shed the pounds rapidly , probably in first week alone .

  • a lg dubl dubl

    It’s rare for a yound d-man’s career to develop smoothly. Just when you hit your stride, there is always another obstacle to overcome. He is saying all of the right things. Best of luck to Teddy Peckman!

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    I know it will never happen but I’d love to see Peckam up on the fourth line running the other team down in the corners. Thats the type of guy we need in the bottom six protecting the kids.

  • nuge2drai

    Oilers Domination to Follow

    This was right about the same time when I wrote Matt Greene off and said we needed to trade him for a bag of pucks. I am going to keep my mouth shut on Peckham.

    Hes a nice guy, solid locker room character – and im hoping he develops the way Matt did. Its good to see good things happen to good people.

    Good Luck Teddy – Bring the Pain!

  • OilDoug

    Peckham needs to come in and be the crazy SOB he was when he first came up. He must play with no fear, bang bodies and drop the gloves more than he did last year.

    He plays like that he’s a valuable member of the team.

  • paul wodehouse

    I just don’t understand why he would even say on air that he loves cheeseburgers and that he’s dying for one after 1-1/2 weeks. That’s just bad publicity. I agree with the fact that why bother getting out of shape when you’re a pro athlete who has access to high end fitness trainers and nutritionists?

    Last I checked hockey players were supposed to get stronger when they reach their mid 20s not weaker. I certainly hope our fab 4 players aren’t pounding back the cokes and burgers, maybe Theo could learn something from a bunch of 18 year old kids.

    • Ok I don’t think it’s fair to criticize Peckham for being honest.

      Really? You’re worried about bad publicity? Criticism like this is why players learn to NEVER say anything interesting and talk only about 110% team game for the team and how wonderful coach is.

      The dude knows he had a fitness problem, he admitted to it, he’s shared his experience of trying to get in shape and you STILL rip on him for talking about it honestly. Get over yourself.

  • I hear tell from my siblings who stil go to the bars that its not just cheeseburgers the dude is into. But hell he is young, I expect crap like that from a kid his age (says the 25 year old…).

    Does Peckham live with anyone on the team? If not, that might be a good idea. Pair him up with a mentor who can show this kid the ropes of being professional.

  • While Cheeseburgers might be a good excuse, I happen to know another weight increasing habit of his: alcohol…I ran into him at Hudson’s on Whyte Ave midway through last season. He was doing shots, the centre of attention and drinking plenty. Peckham held himself in a good demeanor and was a happy drunk who enjoyed the attention, certainly great entertainment for a guy like me, but Gagner, who was on the other side of the bar, seemed completely sober and didn’t indulge in the fun juices the bar was serving. It was obvious Gagner was much more committed to fitness/nutrition than Peckham.

  • Dipstick

    I agree with most comments. He is in the 7th place on the depth chart of a 29th place team. The team is looking to acquire a player that will drop him to 8th. There are a lot of younger players pushing him from below. He can not afford to be lackadaisical about being 100% ready to go for the season. Someone should have taken him aside long ago and had a chat about this. Paging Mr. Horcoff! In light of this, a one year contract is prudent.

  • @cableguy

    My sister comes home with stories of Peckham at the bar relatively frequently. Granted my family isnt immune to hyperbole but from what I gather him having some fun is not a rare occurance.

    Once again, I dont begrudge the guy some of that fun though, hes young. He just needs to find some balance and maybe prioritize.

  • Dipstick

    Peckham has been notorious for slow starts and I’m sure summer BBQs is not good for getting in shape. Peckham needs to make a decision that he is going to be an NHL calibre defenceman and do what he has to do to be ready for the start of the year. Being a pro athlete is a full time job. there are lots of NHL players who maintain a steady diet and exercise regiment over the summer. Theo needs to, at the very least, match this effort. I’ve seen him be an effective Dman for stretches here and there, so I know he can do it.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    @ The Beaker

    oh i dont disagree. i know if i was rich, young, and single i would be a walking mess.

    the lifestyle away from the rink is pretty much started in junior, then throw a pile of cash at these guys and..well..

    my comment was more towards the

    It was obvious Gagner was much more committed to fitness/nutrition than Peckham.

    portion. i should have specified that.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    @ Robin Brownlee:

    There was a big stink here in Winnipeg last season when Byfuglien got popped for drunk boating, because they estimated his weight at 285. He showed up for the first pre-season game looking pretty svelt.

    I’ve been out of the hockey community for so long, being in Winnipeg – how common is it for players these days to pack on the pounds during the summer and lose them prior to camp?

  • “I’ve been out of the hockey community for so long, being in Winnipeg – how common is it for players these days to pack on the pounds during the summer and lose them prior to camp?”

    Not nearly as common as it once was. Most guys I know are very committed to their off-season workout regimens.

  • @cableguy
    @thebeaker

    Yes I did only see him at the bar the one time, but I like the beaker have heard additional stories. I wasn’t trying to bash the guy, because the way he was composed after numerous shots and other drinks was admirable.

    And yes, one viewing of Gagner wouldn’t impose that he’s dedicated to fitness…I guess reading articles on here skew my view as last summer it seemed he worked on himself a lot harder, but he’s been around a while now and seems to have pulled back a bit with his consumption, as I’ve seen him out a lot over the years, and while Teddy gladly accepts a new round of shots, Gagner won’t even let you buy him a vodka-water (lately).

    So my limited viewing (more so with Samwise) has left me with some impressions…but regardless of dedication to fitness, they both seem to be great guys, one a little more outgoing than the other…

  • Gulps down the big Whopper and fries , and washes it down with his frosty oversized Blogger Beer . Peckham human afterall and he probably likes stacks of pancakes to . Gotta satisfy those cravings like most everybody does . I suspect he does most things in moderation . Man it’s hard to believe i know , that hockey players are also human like the rest of society .

    The on off switch for the show (game) is sometimes on a dimmer switch and less than 100% every game or shift . The head and body at odds with one another on occasion (physical and Mental ). From the games i’ve seen it appears many are not playing at 100% all the time -especially in regular season and even more so as a team . Thank goodness they are human and not autobots like some prefer to see them .

    • Wax Man Riley

      Oh my gawd! Oh no!…. what am I doing??

      I … I’m not drunk … but …. No…..

      …I’m about to props a madjam comment.*

      The world IS ending!

      *The first paragraph, anyway. I have no idea what the second is saying. Ok, maybe we’re alright

  • Reg Dunlop

    Just file this comment under ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’. With the direction this thread has taken: Maybe too many Dmen under one way contracts and hiring MacT are connected. Craig can get the extras, like Teddy, sloshed before helping them into their cars for the drive home. If they mow a pedestrian down, like Uncle Craig, BINGO one less player on the oil and one more guy looking for a soap-on-a-rope.

  • Wax Man Riley

    The only burger Peckham should be indulging in, is a Buchburger. Peckham has shown flashes of good play, lets just hope he can sweat off the sugar tits and get his game back on this side of the golden pond.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Ya good for Peckham for being honest and ya I am going to rip on him for not staying in shape. He’s a paid professional hockey player no excuse for being lazy when you have all the time and help in the world to do what you love. I’m sure if you were receiving his pay cheques you would do everything you could to be the best player and work hard towards it would you not?