Avalanche F Ryan O'Reilly takes first penalty of the season

by Mar 29, 5:39 PM

Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly snapped his 75 consecutive game streak - 71 this season -  without taking a penalty Saturday in the worst kind of way. 

The 23-year-old was assessed a two-minute minor midway through the third period against San Jose for playing the puck with a broken stick. 

O'Reilly last recorded a penalty March 10, 2013 - ironically enough against the Sharks - and has amassed just 52 PIM in 337 career games. 

Entering Saturday's game, 26 NHL goalies had more penalty minutes this season. 

Feature photo courtesy of Ron Chenoy / Reuters

Mar 26, 10:35 PM

Ryan O'Reilly on no penalties in 70 games: 'I can still be effective and stay out of the box'

by Mar 26, 10:35 PM

Colorado Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly has registered 26 goals, 31 assists and 177 shots through 70 games, but has stood out for his achievements in two distinct categories: he leads the NHL in takeaways (73) and has also yet to be assessed a penalty of any kind.

In terms of the latter, it took O'Reilly some time to become aware of his lack of visits to the penalty box. “When I was about 50, 55 games in, one of the guys said something (about the streak). I was kind of shocked that I haven’t had a penalty yet,” O’Reilly told John Matisz in the Toronto Sun.

According to HockeyReference.com, the NHL record for games in a season without taking a penalty is 78, set by Craig Ramsay in 1973-74 and Butch Goring in 1980-81. As such, O'Reilly is just nine games away from making NHL history.

O'Reilly credits himself for staying relatively quiet out on the ice, at least in relation to the officials. “I don’t think I’m a guy who will complain to the refs too much, which is a good thing,” said O’Reilly. “Now, with it being my fifth season, (the refs) understand the style of game I play. I’m not a very dirty player. I think the odd time I might have gotten away with something.”

Having said that, he wouldn't mind having at least one blemish on his record. “Obviously, it’d be kind of nice to have a couple penalty minutes to show I’ve got some toughness to my game,” he said, “but it’s still cool (that it shows) I can still be effective and stay out of the box.”

Either way, O'Reilly appears to be a prime candidate for the Lady Byng Trophy, an award handed out to the “best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

Mar 8, 8:51 AM

Ryan O'Reilly remains a stranger to the penalty box, credits Yoga

by Mar 8, 8:51 AM

The Colorado Avalanche may have made the right decision to keep forward Ryan O'Reilly instead of dealing him at the deadline as rumors suggested. Through 61 games played, O'Reilly has yet to hang his head and coast to the penalty box.

It's quite an accomplishment to play on the first or second line and be 22 games away from a clean season without taking any penalties. 

O'Reilly has played an average of 20 minutes a night through five seasons with the Avalanche and his penalty minutes have dwindled each year.

At the age of 18 he played 81 games for 26 points in his rookie season with 18 penalty minutes. Two seasons later, that number was down to 12 penalty minutes through another 81-game season for 55 points.

Last year O'Reilly enjoyed a 29-game season for 20 points and four penalty minutes.

O'Reilly knows the last thing his team needs is to have him locked up for two minutes or more while his team struggles to hold off the opponent's power play. "Growing up, my parents always told me, you can never score from the penalty box. You can never help the team win from the box," he told Mike Chambers of The Denver Post.

Of all the benefits of Yoga, O'Reilly credits the practice for his on-ice discipline.

"Yoga in general is a big practice in discipline, the control over your whole body. It does obviously help. You're defending a guy and aware of your body. You can't put your stick in a certain area. It does correlate."

If that attitude is what is keeping him on the ice and out of trouble, maybe others should seek to follow the example. Through 326 career NHL games and 5,855 minutes of ice time, O'Reilly has only left the team short-handed for 50 minutes. 

O'Reilly has been nominated for the Lady Byng once during his career.

Feature photo courtesy of Ron Chenoy / Reuters