The Edmonton Oilers' Penchant For Too Many Men Penalties


Photo by Lisa McRitchie, all rights reserved

I complained out loud recently that every season the Edmonton Oilers take more too many men penalties (TTMP) than their opponents. The thought occurred to me during the Columbus Blue Jackets game on Friday, in which we not only took a TMMP but also had a 30-second stretch where we played with four men on the ice despite not serving a penalty, further destroying my faith in the team's ability to throw five copper and blue shirts over the boards when five copper and blue shirts come off. Ryan O`Marra's development in the AHL does not include getting on the ice when he is told apparently.

My friend, ever the devil's advocate, asked me whether the Oilers actually take more TMMPs or whether I am a victim of confirmation bias. Where did this belief of mine spring from? Is it just a case of me just being annoyed by the most easily avoidable of minor penalties and subsequently exaggerating the ratio with every sloppy line change? Of course at that moment it occurred to me that I had never actually looked into this and that I had not read any blog or article that had delved into the matter so really I had no basis for my belief other than my potentially flawed memory. Clearly it was time to do some digging. does not keep track of TMMPs specifically but they do keep track of bench minors which is overwhelmingly composed of TMMPs. I am happy to report, all of the griping, moaning, bitching and whining Ive done over the years has been accurate. The Oilers do indeed take more than their fair share of TMMPs. The Oilers have ranked in the bottom half of the league every year since the lockout and are currently dead last this year. Hurray for vindication!

Oilers Rank Bench Minors League Average
2005-06 T-22nd 11 9.5
2006-07 T-18th 11 9.7
2007-08 30th 13 8.5
2008-09 T-20th 10 8.6
2009-10 T-18th 9 8.3
2010-11 T-19th 10 8.5
2011-12 30th 7 2.7

One thing to keep in mind before lighting the torches and hefting the pitchforks is that while it is excruciating as a fan to see a penalty assessed for botched line changes (read: mental brain farts), the overall effect amounts to 2-9 extra minutes of penalty kill time a year which probably only translates to an extra 1-2 goals against a year given an 80-90% PK rate.

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