SUN Hockey Pool

Oil have faceoff, PK concerns

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

While Edmonton did little to address its faceoff concerns, it wasn't the only glaring weakness that didn't seem to be shored up in the off-season.

Edmonton's penalty killing was a woeful 77.5%, fourth worst in the NHL, and wound up costing them a lot of games. More games, perhaps, than faceoffs did, although losing a defensive-zone draw and giving up a power-play goal often go hand in hand.

So how do they plan to improve in that area?

"We intend to be a little more assertive," said head coach Pat Quinn. "I think we have the ability to be better, challenge better, be more aggressive. I've never liked a passive way to kill penalties; I want to be assertive and we're going to try and do that."

Quinn doesn't rule out using his skill guys, like Ales Hemsky, on the PK.

"A lot of times your best offensive guys understand what has to be done, they don't always want to do it, but they understand because they're trying to exploit.

"A lot of people thought I was nuts years ago when I put Reggie Leach out there. He could score 80 goals but everybody thought he floated ... He was one of the best penalty killers we had after a while."

Moreau may not be able

Ethan Moreau might not make it to the starting line for the season opener tomorrow against Calgary. The Oilers captain has an inflammed bursa sac in his ankle and is listed as day to day.

If Moreau can't make it, Robert Nilsson or Steve MacIntyre will draw in.

Penner's clean slate

So far so good with Dustin Penner. Quinn said coming in that he'll judge Penner on the present, not the past, and likes what he saw in camp.

"If he'll apply himself, then usually the intangible sides of the ledger become important -- hard work, attention to detail, honesty and integrity in your approach to your teammates.

"Those are the things that make a difference in a guy and I haven't seen any reason to not feel that this young man can play and help us.

"Right now that's the clean slate that every player's got. All I want to do is have guys make a contribution the best that they can."


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