WIIMChat: A Powerplay Tactics Discussion

On occasion the staff here at WIIM get to chatting about a particular topic, and sometimes the discussion takes a life of its own. The penalty killing post here earlier got some of us talking about some issues with power play tactics, and below you can read that conversation.

Kyle: I think we should dive into the PP stuff. Was thinking about doing a post that explains why they aren't really executing.

Caleb: The Wings best (and seemingly only) PP plays are 1) the slap-pass to Nyquist to tip in from the slot and 2) getting puck to net-front guy next to the net and spinning in front of the net while others crash it. When they aren't getting those two, they just pass it around until they decide to take a bad perimeter shot that probably gets blocked.

J.J.: One thing I think for the PP issues is a tie in to Caleb's point 2) about the net-front guy next to the net thing. They've been getting guys down low at the goal line about 5 feet from the boards, but those guys are hesitating looking for perfect passes. I think more pillow-bounce shots and lobs into the crease-front area while dedicating guys to crashing would be helpful.

Instead of having that guy waiting for a defenseman to mysteriously stop blocking a lane, lob that puck to the front while the weak-side point guy crashes down... then to protect yourself you have the same guy who just made that pass get on his fucking horse and rush high to the zone just in case that scramble turns two PKers up ice with the puck

Kyle: Yes, one thing I cannot stand is that same guy down low is passing it to the net-front guy, who catches the puck on his weak side, then has to adjust to get a good high-danger shot off. It's really inefficient.

I would rather the guy along the boards take a shot, then hopefully generate a rebound for one of the defensemen to sweep in and hopefully catch some open net

J.J.: A turnover is a bad thing on the PP because it can waste 15 seconds of power play time, but it's not that big a deal if passing around the perimeter is wasting the same amount of time. I think the tradeoff of having a few more pucks cleared is that you're going to get to more pucks in the slot and that you're going to get a few more chances to create offense off the rush (which they don't do much anymore on the PP, but I don't want to discount it as a strategy because I think rush scoring on the PP is huge).

Kyle: I would certainly rather have 10 seconds wasted by the puck being cleared because they were getting it on net over 10 seconds wasted of cycling along the perimeter, trying to make room.

Guess it just depends on the situation

Caleb: The other thing that's missing is a conscious attempt to get one-timers from the faceoff dots. They're harder for both dmen and goalies to block because they have to move quickly to try to get into the lane. But they're hard to get by accident - you have to make intentional effort to get the D moving so that the shot is clear.

AKA the play that Ovechkin has scored roughly 250 goals from

J.J.: the half-wall/top-of-the-circle guy should definitely throw more reboundable shots. I think they're trying to pick corners or bank the puck in off traffic. I think they need to be more willing to fire it hard

Yeah we don't collapse the points much anymore, that's what creates those shots

Caleb: Detroit's got guys who would be good at those one-timers too - Pulkkinen and Green on the left wall and Tatar/Smith/Kindl on the right come to mind as guys who have above-average one-timers.


Any thoughts of your own on the power play? Chime in down in the comments! A more in-depth feature on the power play is tentatively planned for the near future, but in the meantime let's talk about it.