If you want to be the best in the world of ice hockey, then you have to master to block as many inevitable penalties as possible while scoring goals. And in the 2019-20 season, Edmonton Oilers has really established themselves as one of the best penalty killer squads of the NHL.
So, how did the Oilers manage to kill so many penalties in the 2019-20 season? What was their actual team strategy and how they achieved it?
In this article, we’re going to reveal the top three secret strategies of penalty kills from the coach of the Edmonton Oilers and they managed to do it.
Let’s dive in…
Focus To Prevent Three Things
According to their coach, the Oilers players mainly focus to prevent three important things. These things are:
- An incoming shot from the opponent team right from the middle of the ice.
- The cross-seam passes
- And last but not least, the rebound shots.
The coach said that their players focus on these three things from when they are at their strength to the time of penalty shots. According to them, these are the three things no ice hockey player wants. You don’t want a full-speed incoming shot right from the middle of the ice towards you. The pass through the seams is a big no-no. And finally, you would definitely not want any unplanned rebounds. And for every penalty kill, you must focus on these things and prevent them with all your power.
Here’s the thing. You wouldn’t want an attacker to enter the middle of an offensive, especially not at the powerplay quarterback area. The coach said that if the puck goes to that offensive point, the players in defense can create many options to get rid of that zone. It can be to shoot it, pass it to the other players, and much more.
Team Effort While Protecting The Players’ Individuality
Here’s the fact. Every time you get a kill, you must think about improving a couple of things about your game to keep the pressure on. The same thing can be applied for the penalty kills too. Every time you score a penalty, you need to put the pressure on the opponent and go all out against them. And to do that a team effort with every single player involving full passion is a must.
The players know what they need to do. And they know how they are going to accomplish it. They have all the data and info available on the track for it.
The coach said that the players would often come to him asking what if they implement a certain plan into action that they have in mind. And the coach encourages it. After all, it’s the players that are right in the middle of the ground trying to accomplish what they envision.
The point is that although every player knows what they need to do, they all have a different way of doing it. This way, it becomes easier to rise above the adversity and score goals.
The Oilers scored around 10 shorthand goals during the 2018-19 session. But it has dropped to three this season now.
According to the coach of the Oilers, it’s really important to focus on the defensive part, especially if you’re playing ice hockey. But the next step forward is to go all out and attack with creative methods whenever the chances arrive. This is a very important strategy of penalty-kill and an essential part of it.
The coach says that his main focus was to get the whole team to adopt the style of the kill. Since the goaltending of the Oilers is already brilliant at the kill, it can give the team so much confidence that they would build the courage to go after anything they desire during the game. And the next part was to make it easier for the players in attack such as Leon and Nuge to go for the kill since they have the capacity to do it.
The coach also says that since those two are the proven goal scorers for the team, they can properly focus in the defense because just scoring the goals isn’t all; you also have to stop them from leaking out goals.
For that, they trained the players to be really great puck movers in the backend. And then they have really great penalty-killers such as Ethan Bear who really knows how to do his job.
This way, the Edmonton Oilers has turned out to be really good penalty killers.