By Joanne Ireland
© The Edmonton Journal 2008
Settling in hasn’t been an option for Liam Reddox, who played for the Stockton Thunder as a rookie.
Even though he recently moved from a hotel to an apartment suite, and went from a seat in the press box to the Edmonton Oilers second line, the 22-year-old left winger isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I can make my own food and do laundry now, so that makes it a little easier,” said the native of Whitby, Ontario, “but I’m always wondering, ‘Is today the day?’ Especially when you’re not in the lineup.”
Called up from the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League on Nov. 14 to inject some enthusiasm into the Oilers lineup, Reddox has helped offset the loss of veteran Fernando Pisani, who is still hobbling around the rink on crutches after breaking his ankle in mid-November.
Reddox, who has played 13 games and seen time on the penalty-killing units, will be in the lineup Friday when the Oilers take on the Canucks at Vancouver.
After that? Who knows. The rosters are frozen until Saturday so players cannot be reassigned until then.
Reddox, who had 26 points (8g-18a) and 49 penalty minutes in 70 regular season games and three points (2g-1a) and four penalty minutes in six Kelly Cup Playoff games for Stockton in 2006-07, didn’t even know there was a roster freeze in effect until he caught wind of it one night on television.
It didn’t change his day-to-day approach, although it kept him in Edmonton for Christmas. His family cancelled plans to meet him in Springfield.
Assistant coach Kelly Buchberger invited Reddox to spend the holiday with his family.
“In the games that I have played, I just tried to make smart reliable plays — and I found I could do that, so for sure, I’m getting more confident,” he said. “I just wouldn’t have figured I’d even be here at this juncture.
“But every game, I just try and bring something, whether it’s energy, maybe hits, or anything to try and show them I want to stay here.”
Selected by Edmonton in the fourth round of the 2004 draft, Reddox went from the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL to play his first game as a pro.
He played 65 games with the Falcons last season and also got into his first NHL contest on Dec. 7 against the St. Louis Blues. It was the only game he played for the Oilers before he charged out for a home game against the Colorado Avalanche in November. Both Kyle Brodziak and Dustin Penner were healthy scratches that night.
Since then, Reddox has seen Jesse Boulerice head back to the waiver wire and watched Tim Sestito, Rob Schremp and Gilbert Brule report to Edmonton only to receive return tickets to Springfield.
Because he is a role player, he has had a prolonged stay. It didn’t hurt that he scored his first NHL goal in the game against the Avs and that he added an assist in the Oilers’ 9-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. He is even in the plus-minus category.
“I just show up and try and make an impression every day,” he said.