January 21, 2013
Oilers shootout special team strategy could pay off

Oilers goaltending coach Freddie Chabot demonstrates a point for Devan Dubnyk during Oilers camp last week. (Perry Nelson/QMI Agency)

EDMONTON - The reason there are goalie coaches is mostly because the average head coach in the NHL has only one inspired bit of advice to offer when it comes to the custodians of the cord cottage.

“Just stop the @#$%^&* puck!”

Goalie coaches are seldom considered of equal status to the actual assistant coaches and as for responsibility, well, what would you have them do, anyway?

Enter Ralph Krueger.

During the six day so-called training camp, the new Edmonton Oilers head coach telegraphed that he had a plan to make shootouts a much-more coached part of proceedings than it has been here in the past.

The man who took over coaching the power play under Tom Renney as an associate coach last year – and moved the Oilers up to third at 20.6% after being 27th at 14.5% the year before – did the math.

The Oilers won only 11 of 33 shootouts in Renney's two years of picking the shootout shooters.

“We see shootouts as a specialty team,” said Krueger.