SUN Hockey Pool

Penalty kill problems resurface

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

The penalty kill is in mid-season form. Unfortunately.

It's just two games, but Edmonton's PK is 27th in the NHL, just where it finished off last year.

They've allowed four goals on nine chances, a trend that needs to be reversed in a hurry.

"Some of them are flukes," said head coach Pat Quinn. "Calgary's two went in off our people on simple point shots. Last game, a 4-on-3 we didn't cover it off right. But they still go in and we have to be better at it. We have to have better stick use.

"If you look at our team they don't use their sticks well, they keep them up off the ice. We don't keep them in the passing lanes as well as we should, we don't put it on the puck as quickly as we should and as a result we're giving too much time and too much room to people."

Ethan Moreau, one of the steady PK guys, says just give it time and it'll turn.

"You have to give it some games and trust the system that we've been given and we'll be fine. Once everybody settles into their roles and everybody becomes a little more comfortable we'll be OK. After two games it's tough to analyze."

Wonky schedule

The NHL schedule makers continue to be the most clueless in sports. The latest example sees Edmonton playing Calgary three times in the first 10 games and wrapping up their season series by January. In the stretch drive, when it should all be divisional contests, the rivals won't play.

"From a fan's perspective," said Shawn Horcoff, "I'm sure they would have liked to see more games at the end of the year when all those games are more intense."

Fists of fury

Teams don't like to see their top defenceman fight the other team's tough guy, but their fears were put to rest in a hurry when Sheldon Souray threw Krys Barch around like he was separating a nerd from his lunch money. Losing Souray for five minutes, however, isn't something they want to see on a regular basis.

"You don't want to waste your time on some people," Quinn said of Barch. "For us, you'd rather have someone else answering that particular question. We need him to play, not sit in the box, but I also understand when you're a leader and you feel something needs to be done, you respond."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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