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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Call Me Crazy / The Oilers Penalty Kill System

Watching the Oilers Penalty Kill this season so far, has been painful. They are employing a style that I can't say I like. To describe it, it's almost a rotating box that goes from a square to a diamond and back again depending on where the puck is at the time. They seem to chase the puck and player rather than hunkering down and protecting the slot. It's a mix of B and C. (See below)

Picture from
I am a straight up box kind of guy. The 1/4 split method (see pictures below) is my preference. Maintain your position and force them to shoot from the outside, while you take your chances and clear the front of the net. Is it the best style? Debatable. But it is a style that I prefer and judging the way things are going right now, it's worth a try.

Right now, the Oilers are chasing the puck. They move to where the puck is. That's not a good thing. The opposing team is pulling the Oilers towards the puck carrier -- by either passing back and forth on the blue line or by just holding the puck and drawing them that way -- while the other side of the rink and/or the guys down low are setting up for one timers and open lanes.

The Oilers are focusing way too much on the puck and not enough behind/around themselves. I believe they should focus more on where the players are located and protect the slot and the front of the net. Much easier to do when your not looking like a bunch of TimBits chasing the puck all over the ice.

The following pictures are here to help me describe what I am talking about.

The Setup. Oilers (blue circles) are more spaced out here to start like they do now,
but they are maintaining the splitting the ice in 1/4 ice positioning rule.
No crossovers. Once the puck moves lower, so should the Oilers.
On the initial setup of the penalty kill, the Oilers should employ the 1/4 rule. Each player takes the 1/4 part of the zone and claim it as your own with no crossing over. (see below)

1/4 Ice Positioning
Now I'm not talking about playing a complete passive/closed box style either. More like a collapsing box when pressured down low, but able to come out far enough out to stop the close range shots.

The key to it working right? Mean and alert defencemen that can hack and whack. You also need forwards that don't get suckered into following/chasing the puck.

Areas of protection
I really do think that the Oilers should try something like this. How many times in the last few games have they been burned on the inside of the box due to puck chasing on the outside, rather than holding their ground?

The other main key to making this penalty kill better, is blocking shots. Not enough shots are blocked in a game by the Oilers. The successful teams block those shots that sneak in. They get pieces of pucks enough to deflect them away. The Oilers need more of that and they shouldn't be so shy. Earn that cash.

So there you have it. I say give it a try.

I won't even get into why Gagner, Hemsky, Strudwick and Gilbert shouldn't be on the PK, cause that's a whole other topic.

-Written by Smokin' Ray-


  1. How many times in the last few games have they been burned on the inside of the box due to puck chasing on the outside, rather than holding their ground?


    What you wrote. Exactly this.

    A thousand times, this.

  2. I take it this has been emailed to Mr. Tom Renney?


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