As we cross this barren wasteland of a hockey-summer into August and parts beyond we continue to think up ways to scare up a good conversation every morning. While we wish we were talking about the latest ownership rumor and all the good news that might follow in subsequent weeks, there are none. So we keep our thoughts on-ice for the time being.
Off-season speculation from the national media is all about Brad Richards or the lack thereof. Speculation on the other side of the fence for we, the Stars fans, has centered largely on the new acquisitions and how they might help pick up the slack offensively. How will Ryder do with Ribeiro? Can Souray impact the power play? Can a third line with Fiddler and Burish be more productive than one featuring Petersen and Sutherby?
What about the penalty kill? That dirtiest of jobs... While people are busy wondering if Souray can get that elephant gun through from the point, we might do well to ask who is going to fill Karlis Skrastins' rather buxom 3:14 SHTOI/G.
Stephane Robidas already led the team in that category, besting Skrastins by three seconds per game at 3:17 and will no doubt continue to do so. Grossman came in at 2:19 per game and Trevor Daley was averaging nearly two minutes as well to round out the set of four.
The good news is that Sheldon Souray co-led the Oilers in SHTOI/G in his last real NHL season (2008-2009). He has plenty of experience in this area and if he proves effective then the problem is solved. Adam Pardy was not given much in the area of PK minutes by Calgary (0:36 per game) last year and it is not yet known what kind of role Mark Fistric will have this year, though he did log some heavy PK minutes at times when Grossman and Skrastins were both out last season.
That leaves Souray and Goligoski. Alex Goligoski did play 1:20 per game on the PK last year and a slight bump could be in store for him. He filled in for Skrastins in March last season sporadically, playing as many as three short handed minutes in some games, so it's not unheard of.
As far as Souray goes, it remains to be seen what kind of overall minutes he can handle. It might seem to the untrained eye that penalty killing involves a lot of
standing around...excuse me...meticulous positioning, but there's a lot more to it than that. Witness one of the excellent Bourne Blog's written at Puck Daddy yesterday on penalty killing and this excerpt...
In-zone penalty killing is done in the type of short, quick bursts (if you're doing it right) that makes your quads feel like you've just done lightning lines at the end of practice. Stops and starts, up and back, stick in lanes. Backdoor! Up top! You can't even loop around. I'm tired writing about it. [Puck Daddy]
It sounds like there are some legs that will be missing Karlis Skrastins' hard work on the PK next year.
How would you like to see PK minutes allotted among the d-men now that Skrastins is gone and Souray, Pardy and Goligoski are in the mix?