Filling Holes

Game #6: Coyotes vs. Oilers @ Glendale Arena

The Beatles – “A Day In the Life”

theopeckham Back when I was in University at the U of A, October of 2007, — wait! I am still in University, ugghh — I wrote a story for a creative writing class. I titled it “Four Thousand Holes to Fill the Albert Hall.” It was an ambitious project. We were asked by our eccentric writing instructor, whose bangles and neckalces used to jingle-jangle as she ran down the hallway late for class every Tuesday and Thursday that fall, to write a four thousand word non-fiction piece about a day in our life. To, “accentuate the banal” she said was the goal.

I had a little trouble getting going on that piece. I found the banal aspects of my day to be so banal that they were almost impossible to write about. Imagine that. Banality so unequivocally banal that it’s impossible to capture its spirit. That’s like being asked to write a story about the tree-iness of a tree and drawing a blank. What did that say about my undergraduate student life? Further to that, what does it say about my graduate student life now — one not so different from then? Oh, I can see why I didn’t want to write that story. I didn’t want to look at my life with so much scrutiny that I might find something I didn’t like.

Anyways, I went in search of some inspiration. Something that would give me the sort-of creative distance from myself that I needed to write the story as honestly as possible. According to the writing approach I wrote as part of the assignment requirements: “I listened to the song “A Day in the Life” by The Beatles.” And,

“In the song there’s a lyric that goes: “Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall,” a direct reference to the movie Yellow Submarine... The line is a social commentary on all the assholes in Blackburn, Lancashire and how many of those it would take to fill the rich section of the Albert Hall…Thus, I wanted to construct a story where I see the incomplete-ness or holey-ness of all the things/people that occupy my world.”

Phew! Good luck Kid.

Inspired a bit by the posh narrator of the movie Stranger Than Fiction and that lyric from The Beatles tune, I decided to write a wordy piece about a day in my life from the 3rd person point-of-view. As part of my “creative distancing” I gave myself a different name. I wanted something that maintained my initials but which nobody save for me and a handful of others would be able to recognize. Naturally, I turned to the Edmonton Oilers farm team at the time, the Springfield Falcons, and found rookie Theodore Peckham just sitting there minding his business. And I thought to myself, “Here’s a kid who will never see the light of day.” So it went that the story was officially titled:

“The Life and Times of Mr. Theodore Peckham II, Or Four Thousand Holes To Fill the Albert Hall”

Here’s an excerpt:

“Theo is incapable of seeing his own sheltered and fragmented presentation to the world while constantly digging holes in the lives of his sacred inner-circle and of all the other ‘holes’, or should I say non-wholes, that occupy his every day. We now find Theo living out the banal moments of his life with the most cautious of steps. Spending his time pondering and preparing his social performance while he remains immobile and separate from the world that exists around him; aware of every choice he makes and prepared for wherever the consequence of that choice may lead him—still unaware of how to repair his own hole.”

The story didn’t work. It was wordy, confusing, over-produced, poorly organized, and clumsy. It reeked of a writer who had no idea what he was he doing. It was misguided and lazy.

But, for those lucky enough to read a first draft, it did make Theodore Peckham an instant memory. And when he was called up to the Oilers in the spring 0f 2008 J (who was my first reader in those days) turned to me and said:

“Do you ever make-up anything on your own?”

She still gives me a hard time whenever old Teddy Peckman (that’s what I call him) makes the news.

Speaking of Theodore Peckham. His hip injury has healed and he has been cleared to travel with the Oilers for this three game road trip through Phoenix, San Jose, and Colorado. His activation from the injured reserve list today is an important moment for the Oilers because it forces management to make a roster move. Jonathan Willis wrote a nice piece this morning about Peckham’s future with the Oilers here. Here’s my take.

When the Oilers traded for Mark Fistric at the beginning of the month they essentially acquired an older more defensively sound Peckham. I wrote earlier that Fistric is a nice compliment for the defense because he gives each pairing a reliable stay-at-home defenseman and a puck-mover:

Smid (stay-at-home) – Petry (puck-mover)
J. Schultz (puck-mover) – N. Schultz (stay-at-home)
Whitney (puck-mover) – Fistric (stay-at-home)

However, with the exception of the L.A. Kings game last week, Fistric has been a healthy scratch in favor of the agile Corey Potter. This is a curious decision considering the physical component that Fistric adds to the team is sorely lacking in the nimble but ostensibly austere game of Potter’s. During the broadcast of the Avalanche game two nights ago on Sportsnet I noticed a few things:

1) That Coach Krueger took Mark Fistric aside during the early morning skate to give him a lengthy explanation as to why he was being scratched for the game that evening. From my experience playing sports, these discussions usually tip the coach’s hand about how you will be deployed for the season. And typically gives away the team’s overall view of you as an asset

2) Journalist Mark Spector, during the 1st intermission, announced to us fans that Management and the Oilers Coaches had every intention of playing Fistric a whole bunch this season. And that we shouldn’t be too concerned by his early season benching.

3) Corey Potter, who killed on the Power Play last season (and earned the nickname Corey “Power” Potter “Play” from Lowetide and others) is getting absolutely zero power play time this season. Thus, his role on the team has diminished, yet he is still getting playing time over a recent acquisition.

This tells me that Corey Potter is getting the old “showcasing.” This is a thing that teams do when they need to showcase a guy they don’t want anymore so that another team’s pro scouts can get a good long look at him. Then a trade happens. And if I am the Oilers I would be personally inviting Detroit’s scouts over for popcorn at the Fexall catwalk.

The Red Wings have lost both Carlo Coliaccovo and Ian White to long-term injury this season, Nik Lidstrom retired in the off-season, and they recently signed Kent Huskins to stop the bleeding on a team that is usually better than solid on the backend. Plus, Tom Renney is an assistant coach there now and it was Renney who gave the Oilers the heads up about Potter wilting away in the Penguins farm system in 2011.

So here’s my overall point. Maybe the Oil could package together Peckham and Potter in a deal to Detroit for a forward, a pick, or some farm depth to help out OKC who are struggling mightily since the Lockout ended (2-7-3 since Jan. 1st).

Trading Peckham would be a nice way to fill some organizational holes. See what I did there?





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