SUN Hockey Pool

Giving it a shot

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

Players in scoring droughts often say they're not worried about it as long as they're getting chances to put the puck in the net.

Shawn Horcoff's scoring woes, then, have to be cause for some concern to the Edmonton Oilers. Coming off a season in which Horcoff was second in team scoring with 73 points, he isn't even getting a sniff.

Horcoff has just one goal and five points through 12 games. Worse yet, he's managed just 13 shots on goal.

"It is a factor," Horcoff says, talking about his modest shots total. "I've got to get more pucks to the net."

Horcoff, 28, isn't the kind of player - think Petr Sykora, Jarret Stoll or Ryan Smyth - who throws everything to the net at the best of times. He took 167 shots, or about two a game, last season on the way to scoring 22 goals. Stoll, by comparison, took 243 shots.

At the one-a-game pace Horcoff's on now, he's not even giving himself a chance to hit the 20-goal mark again. He didn't have a single shot in the 5-3 loss to Nashville.

"I normally average a couple shots a game and, obviously, I'm below that," he said. "I think I only had two or three shots on net in my first six or seven games.

"When things go bad, just get the puck to the net and good things are going to happen. Even on odd-man rushes, instead of maybe looking to pass, I've got to be looking to shoot a little more."

In his first dozen games last season, Horcoff bolted out of the blocks with 4-8-12 despite the pressure of assuming the role as the team's first-line centre. He quieted a lot of critics. Now, they're talking again.

"If you get a few bounces and you get a little confidence, pucks start going in for you again," he said. "I've been in a couple of spots where the puck's not getting through and not going in. It's frustrating.

"By the same token, it's a fine line. You want to let it bother you enough where you're doing the right things, but you can't let it get to you too much."


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