• Tracers: Theo Peckham

    by  • July 23, 2012 • Hockey • 9 Comments

    Edmonton’s best interviewer at the moment, Jason Gregor, has an interesting one up with Theo Peckham over at OilersNation. This quote caught my eye:

    You want to go out there and be physical and protect your teammates, but you’re not sure if you take a penalty. And it happened a couple of times last year where you would go after a guy, and then they would end up scoring on the penalty or something would happen, and then you get kind of blasted by the coach. So you’re just not too sure what to do anymore.

    Longtime readers of the site will know that stuff like this catches my eye, whether it be Joffrey Lupul’s silly complaints that Craig MacTavish didn’t give him a chance or Todd Bertuzzi making the same complaint about his time in Anaheim.

    As it so happens, Theo Peckham was a bit of a penalty machine last year. His PTAKE/60 (Uh – Gabe probably coulda named that one a little better) was the sixth worst in the NHL amongst defencemen who played at least 40 games. This is not a new problem by the way – he had the worst PTAKE/60 (I admit it – I just like typing this) amongst D with the same threshold in 2010-11, his “good” season.

    Peckham went to the penalty box twenty times last year in non-coincidental situations (that strikes me as pretty high for a guy who played half the year; I remember drilling into Jason Smith’s penalties one year, a tough player who wasn’t blessed with speed and being stunned at how infrequently he went to the box and actually put the Oilers down a man. A quick look now shows that in 2003-04, he had 98 PIM, and put the Oilers down a man 13 times.) More than half of those were speed/positioning penalties – hooking, holding, tripping and interference.

    Peckham had some lousy luck in that he was in the penalty box for six goals against. Four of those were speed/positioning penalties; not really what he’s talking about.

    The first “tough” penalty that resulted in a goal against was against Minnesota on November 25, 2011. Late in the first period, the Oilers were winning 2-0 and had Sam Gagner in the penalty box. The puck cames into Devan Dubnyk – it’s loose – and Dany Heatley falls forward onto Dubnyk while trying to play the puck. Peckham crosschecks him four times in the back, right in front of the referee and gets a penalty. The Wild score on the 5 on 3 with ten seconds left in the first period.

    The second “tough” penalty that resulted in a goal against was against Columbus. Derek Dorsett (hmm) tried to make a play on a puck that Dubnyk was reaching out to cover and Dubnyk got a bit of a whack. This may be my bias as a guy who plays forward rather than goal or defence showing but it didn’t look to me like it was anything more than the price of playing goal. The whistle went as Dubnyk covered the puck and then Peckham kind of shoved Dorsett to the ice from behind. Columbus scored on the PP late in the period to tie the game at two and went on to win.

    Were these protecting the teammate penalties? The first more than the second I suppose, although if Dany Heatley hasn’t stopped going to the net at this stage in his career, I doubt Peckham will make him stop; it’s more avenging your teammate by driving a guy into him a few times. As far as picking your spots goes though, that probably isn’t the sort of thing you want to be doing on a 5 on 4. The second struck me as awfully dumb – nobody’s dissuaded from anything by a shove like the one Peckham gave.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Peckham did catch hell in the dressing room between periods – taking a stupid looking penalty that results in a goal right before the end of the period is probably an excellent way to get screamed at by an NHL coach. I kind of think Peckham’s got bigger problems when it comes to being an NHL defenceman than this though: he just flat out takes a ton of penalties. We used to think that Matt Greene put the Oilers down a man a lot due to his various deficiencies – he caused them to be short 13 times in 768 minutes when he was 24, compared to 20 times in 911 minutes for Peckham in his age 24 season, about 30% more often. It’d be even more if you adjusted for the fact that penalties were far more common when Greene was 24 than they were last year.

    Given Peckham’s pre-existing problem with penalties, I don’t particularly take a lot of comfort from the next part of the quote I referred to above:

    And in some situations like that, they’re never good and they’re never going to lead to the right outcomes for me. Just knowing that I have the green light to maybe go in and take that 2, 5 and 10 and not possibly be sitting out next game, I think that’s a huge part.

    I’m not sure that a Theo Peckham who feels liberated to take penalties, given his pre-existing problems in that department (and the fact that the ones he took last year that led to goals were dumb), is a particularly good thing for the Oilers. As always with the past few years of the Oilers, it’s probably not particularly relevant in the bigger picture because I doubt he’s going to be here when this team finally gets off the canvas but it’s something to watch nonetheless.


    9 Responses to Tracers: Theo Peckham

    1. Jason Gregor
      July 23, 2012 at

      Good read. I found it interesting when Peckham talked about needing a clear understanding of his role. Guys who play tough and are expected to protect teammates, and I agree those weren’t smart, tough penalties, want a coach understands that now and then he will cross the line.

      I know it would be lots of work, but did you happen to look at his penalties from 2011. He had 198 in PIMs, 10 fights and 7 misconducts gave him 120 pims, but that year he seemed more effective.

      Was he still taking too many penalties then?

      If Peckham is going to take an aggressive penalty it can’t be needless x-checks to the back that’s for sure. I wonder how many smart “toughs” he had in 2011.

      I think he could be a solid #6, especially if he cuts down on his penalties.

    2. Mr DeBakey
      July 23, 2012 at

      “but that year he seemed more effective”

      That’s because Gilbert carried him for most of the year.

    3. slipper
      July 23, 2012 at

      The comments section on the Lupul and Bertuzzi pieces are gold. So much fun stuff to read in there.

      Evidently, people weren’t hard enough on David Staples during the infancy of his stats projects.


      • Mr DeBakey
        July 23, 2012 at

        This evening the NHL Network featured a Philly-Montreal play-oof game from a couple years back.

        Lupul and Thoreson were playing on the same line for the Bullies.
        Talk about chalk & cheese.

        • Mike
          July 23, 2012 at

          Was it the testicle explosion game?

          • Doogie2K
            July 25, 2012 at

            Wasn’t that against the Caps?

    4. Mike
      July 23, 2012 at

      One of Tyler’s comments from the Lupul post:

      … this is the sort of thing that bad teams in crummy locations with money to spend should be doing. Taking Sanderson’s contract and giving up Smith, who wasn’t getting them to the playoffs, gets them four years of Joni or compensation in lieu

      In retrospect, it’s adorable that any of us thought that management would not find a way to fuck up the compensation in lieu.

    5. Kevin
      July 23, 2012 at

      The last few comments here mentioning Philly and compensation (and, to complement PTAKE, testicle explosions)inspire a question: does anyone know whether Philly would get the compensatory picks back from NSH if the league successfully challenges Weber’s contract after NSH chooses not to match the offer?

      • Mike
        July 23, 2012 at

        Minus the ones they dock as a penalty? I would assume so.

        Doubt this one gets challenged – the league and NHLPA established new rules after the Kovy deal that establish a cut-off at age 40 in terms of how the contract is treated. Would be tough to turn around and argue that a contract up to age 40 is contrary to the CBA after that.

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