Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

What is wrong with the penalty kill

The Edmonton Oilers played well enough to win, or at the very least, get a point out of today’s hockey game with the Rangers. Unfortunately, the Oilers are having a real problem with their penalty kill and it’s costing them hockey games

Earlier today, Brownlee wrote about Jesse Puljujarvi’s impressive debut (he was great btw) but in that same article, he also dropped some hot truth about the penalty kill and I think it could use even more attention. He wrote:

With the Rangers scoring twice on the power play (Pavel Buchnevich and Nash) in three attempts, the Oilers close out the road trip against the Washington Capitals Sunday with their penalty killing operating at 69.8 per cent, dead-last in the league. The Capitals are ranked 15th on the power play at 19.6 per cent.

Last year, the Oilers killed off 80.7% of the penalties they took and it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that 80.7% > 69.8%. As far as stats go, this could be one of those punch-you-in-the-face doozies that ends up sinking the ship entirely. I mean, dead last? Are they really dead last? In this afternoon’s loss, the Oilers were punching and counter punching quite nicely at even strength, but they allowed goals on two of three Ranger power plays and it ultimately contributed to their demise.

When your opponents have a (more or less) 1/3 chance of scoring on the power play then you’ve really only got three options: 1) forfeit the games and pick up badminton, 2) find a way to stop the madness or 3) stay out of the Gord damned box. Since the Oilers are having a really tough time with the latter then the first two options are starting to look like a sweet release that none of us could have planned on hoping for this season.


So how do they fix it? How can they stop the madness? When will this PK plan get stuffed into a rocket and blasted into the sun? Now, I won’t pretend to have the answers for you, McLellan and friends get paid a lofty sum to think of those, but someone had better figure out some solutions sooner than later. What I do know is that having the worst penalty kill in the NHL is going to ruin a lot of nights unless something changes. Not to mention, golf season comes fast, you know.

  • Dean S

    Nothings wrong with the PK, seriously. When your goaltender comes out of the crease to challenge hard and drops to his knees before the shot. You have a WIDE OPEN net on the other side.

    • Dean S

      Folks, watch the replays of the PP Goals. How to fix it. When practicing the PK, just have Talbot stay in his crease and stand up. Hopefully good habits will follow.

    • ComeAtMeDog

      I’ve noticed this also . How many goals have been scored on Talbot like the cut back /slide in or the cross ice open net . Seem so he’s a bit offfor sure .

      Actually he’s sucked more than he’s been good this year and it’s hurting us big time

      • TruthHurts98

        Which is why you never played goalie or hockey at any high level before. The Oilers aren’t getting sticks in lanes and a goalie standing up is the most retarded comment I’ve heard. None of the other NHL goalies do. Most players don’t elevate the puck that well on one timers. He has to take away the percentages down low. He was left out to the wolves on all the power plays, the Rangers barely missed on the first one. Watching other teams penalty kill and then watching the Oilers it’s seems to be more of a coaching issue. The Oilers also have the worst offense in the league, so think before throwing this on Talbot. He’s getting nada for scoring support, lowest goals for in the league. That is embarrassing. Really embarrassing.

  • go-oil

    Those seam passes were brutal—they can’t happen at the rate they did today. I saw their box structure breakdown with guys left wide open for empty net shots. I love Klefbom, but he missed some assignments in making sure the passes didn’t get through… same with Letestu. To me I think they need to pick their spots better in terms of pressuring the puck, otherwise the need to maintain the 4-man box and keep passing to the perimeter.

  • Klef abs

    Anyone blaming Talbot on any of those goals is an idiot. He made a few spectacular saves to keep the game close. The oilers didn’t play very well again and could very well have lost each of the last 3 in reg. The team is off and it’s not just Talbot or the PK. The rangers kept play in the oil zone for the majority of the game. They did a good job of keeping them outside for the most part. Jesse was good but the rest of them stunk. Thanks Chiarelli!

    • Oilerchild77

      Loser fanscalways need someone to blame and kick out of town. Ever wonder why nobody wants to play for the Oilers? Look in the mirror pseudo-fans and there’s your answer.

  • gregolas

    Is it safs to say Hendricks and pou (who is now producing) were under rated? We used to have a great PK with them on the team.

    Then again, them being out there wouldn’t make a difference when klefbom decides to leave Nash all alone in his office where he’s known for getting it done,

      • Spydyr

        Yeah how moronic is it to think a goalie should be able to move across his net if a player passes the puck. It is much better for him to be on his knees stationary on the ice. What was I thinking.

    • TruthHurts98

      Easy to type from your couch. Playing tender against NHL shooters you have to respect a shot every time while being ready to slide or you don’t stay in the league. Wanna blame Cory Schneider for Leon’s goal in OT? Why didn’t he slide across anticipating Connor’s pass? Give me a break. Tomorrow LB will be lit up far worse and you’ll be more than happy to have Talbot back in net. He’s not the problem.

  • Connor McFly

    I wonder how long the erstwhile management of the Oil is going to allow Mclellan to fiddle while the season burns. Gross incompetence by all of management and coaching. Off with their heads.

  • Heschultzhescores

    It’s also a doubled edged sword. The worse the PK, the less aggressive guys feel they can play, and our team is built to use the body and be aggressive. We NEED a great PK…the PP will take care of itself with McD and Drai leading the show. I can see Jesse being a great one-time man on the PP in the future too.

  • Armchair genius

    Letestu and Klefbom have been terrible. Klefbom has had major gaffs all season long so far, not sure what he is thinking sometimes, smh, and Letestu lucked out last year with some strong partners on the PK and this year on the PP he’s had one or two shots worth talking about! I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jesse on the 1st unit today and god help us with the PK. Hopefully Tmac brains up and doesn’t put these 2 guys out on the PK again

  • Stack Pad Save

    The entire problem is personel. They got rid of some of their better penalty killers and replaced them with worse one. Last night Kassian was chasing the puck on the PK. This is so terrible, as everyone else is playing a zone so if he gets sucked out of position it opens holes. Letestu has also regressed big time this year. He can’t win face offs since the rule change and he is super slow, so he can’t transition to close gaps as the other team moves the puck high to low and these 2 were burnt last night for both pk goals. Also Klefbom is puck watching so bad it hurts. He can’t pick up a man in front of the net to save his life. That first goal was all his fault, he moves to take away the pass on the 2 on 1, effectively giving the Rangers player a break away then he doesn’t actually take Nash’s stick away from him and puck watches allowing Nash an easy goal.

  • daryl

    This is on the coach he can set a good PK but Todd has made som really piss poor calls my all time (favorite?)was Lucic on overtime against the Pens how do you put some one with his speed out on a 3 vs 3 game? Just think Todd is off this year.

  • ScottV

    I would think the problem is partly strategy and partly execution.

    With pk strategy – you either go with a leaning toward passive coverage (4 guys who default mostly toward forming a box close to net) or pressure pk – 4 guys that overplay on the puck carrier and his immediate support options – leaving a back side guy open, but with little chance of being able to receive a pass. Then – you have coaches that try to find the mix between the two, but getting it just right – the way you want is tough.
    Ideally – if you want to pressure then you want all 4 guys to pressure, otherwise the pressure doesn’t limit the ability of the opposition to be able to work the puck enough. The one or two guys applying pressure – don’t get the turnover, the puck gets quickly worked out of that failed pressure trap and for a few split seconds the pk alignment is big time vulnerable.

    This – happens a lot to the Oilers. They get caught in between – in no man’s land. Neither pressuring well (4 guys in unison) nor being in a well positioned box formation – when the situation calls for it. The opposition pulls or suckers the pk alignment out into disjointed pressure positions and then works the puck quickly through the gaping seams that they create.

    I think a leaning toward pressure pk is great, but you have to be able to really execute it – or, you’re better off defaulting more to a passive box formation. So – as a coach, you better to be able to have your pressure pk vision, be able to communicate what it is, get the guys to buy into it, practice it, weed it, and get it bullet proof over time. If your pressure pk agenda without the foundation – then, you’re gonna get burned more than you like.

    I think there’s a disconnect between strategy and execution. Coaching.