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PRINCIPE: Perron his game

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers

After Tuesday night's result versus the Toronto Maple Leafs there was a group of Edmonton Oilers who weren't feeling well. Despite heavily outchancing the visitors, the home side was outscored. Enough to make you sick but in David Perron's case he was already there. The forward was unavailable to play. An unhealthy scratch after taking part in the morning skate. It's uncertain what he was suffering from that left him missing from the lineup. I do know opponents who play against Perron are often ailing from something I like to call 'Get under your skinitis'.

Yes, it's a common occurence for select players from the opposition to have it. Symptoms are a certain irritation and scratching it doesn't help. You tend to have an upward spike in your temperature. Sometimes it happens instantly and other times it can occur over the course of the game. There's also the tendency to want to strike out physically with a punch, a push or the use of your stick. If you have any or all of these symptoms chances are you have come in contact with the Oilers winger. If you have them it also means that David is Perron his game and fulfilling his job requirement to perfection.

I've seen it countless times already this season where opposing players start the game feeling just fine but by the end of the game they're sick...of David Perron. When Edmonton acquired him from St. Louis this summer in a deal involving Magnus Paajarvi a few Oilers fans wondered whether this was simply the trading of one top nine forward with possible top six implications for another forward with the same scenario from another team. That is proving to not be the case at all. Paajarvi and Perron may have the same letter to start their last names but that's about all they have common. These are two very different players and what the former Blue provides is what the Oilers need.

The 2007 first rounder has given Edmonton some qualities in a skill player they just didn't have. David Perron is annoying to play against and I mean that in the best possible way. I have watched the Sherbrooke, Quebec native since he came into the league. We'd broadcast a game or two of St. Louis' on Sportsnet and he seemed like a pretty good player on a good team. I never noticed what I've seen so far on a steady basis this season. He's the perfect example of someone you can't really appreciate until you see him on a nightly basis. Perron has a great understanding of gamesmanship and picking his spots to play games with the other team.

Perron is listed at 6'0 and 198. Not a huge frame or build but he plays bigger than that. Throw in his feistiness and willingness to mix it up and it's been awhile since Edmonton has had this kind of player. The other thing is he's skilled. The 25 year old doesn't look out of place playing on the top two lines or even the third line. Nine points in 13 games and second on the team in penalty minutes. There will be the odd minor penalty he takes that might leave you wondering why he did that. However, it comes with playing on the edge and I think it's safe to say he'll draw more penalties than he takes. In his first season it's become apparent the healthier he is the sicker opponents tend to be.

Gene Principe is the host of Oilers games on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet Oilers

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