He points out that it wasn’t too long ago that being asked to kill penalties was a punishment by the coach. This might explain why Eddie Olczyk, the color guy on the Versus broadcasts, has pointed to the fact that Mike Modano was out on the penalty kill as an indication that his coaches might not be happy with him.
Notice the players Tippett has called on to kill the pair of penalties. All of the team’s top-end talent takes a turn, including scoring threats Modano, Lehtinen and Morrow.
It wasn’t so long ago that NHL players viewed penalty-killing duties on a par with washing practice gear and sweeping the dressing room floor. Superstars weren’t usually asked to perform such mundane tasks, and if they were, it was often viewed as punishment by the coach for lazy or lackluster play.
Um, Modano is our main penalty-killer.
That perspective on the penalty kill is before my time, I guess. I think I benefit a little from having joined the party late, because it sounds like it used to be pretty boring. I’ve been watching the Dallas Stars since about halfway through the ’97-’98 season. And I wouldn’t have recognized a penalty kill when I saw it until about 2002. But now it’s one of my favorite parts of the game. I don’t wish penalties on the team or anything, but I just love watching an efficient, smothering penalty kill.
It’s exciting for me when the Stars stop the power play from even entering the zone. With Turco stopping any rims around the boards, the power plays try to deke it into the zone and they’re met by the whole penalty kill who often just poke the puck off the carrier’s stick and send it down the ice.
My favorite thing, though, is when the Stars are on the road and the home team can’t get past the blue line for their whole power play and their fans start to boo them. It makes me feel all warm inside.
Update: On The Ticket this morning, doing his weekly show with The Musers, Razor was asked, if he could have the number one penalty kill or the number one power play in the league, and the other was no better than mediocre, which he would choose. Of course, he chose the penalty kill. So there you go.