Thursday, October 23, 2008

5 Things To Imporve Powerplay

The following is a list of things, in my opinion, that have to change on the Capitals' power play. Looking over the tape of the Caps 9 minute debacle against Calgary, I couldn't help but come up with a few observations. And wouldn't you know it, it came out to 5. How convenient.

1. Move your feet. The Capitals are all standing around in the offensive zone watching the puck carrier. By not moving around you give the penalty killers an easier time to pick off passes, clog shooting lanes and be aggressive toward the puck carrier. There has to be more movement.

2. Three words: traffic, traffic, traffic. The Caps have to make the goaltender uncomfortable in his own crease. Make the goaltender have to look around people rather than square up to the shooter. In the Atlanta game, the Caps did a better job of getting traffic in front and allowing Green to slip behind the commotion in front to get the back door shot.

3. The need for speed. The power play needs to step it up a notch. Passes to the open man have to be quicker. Movement has to be decisive and quick. This team has some very speedy players and that should work to their advantage. Plus speed catches defenders off guard, and could lead to more penalties.

4. Collapse. Once the shot does come from the point, the Caps need to collapse down to the crease to gobble up rebounds, or at the very least create more screens for second and third shots. Often when the shot comes from the point, the Caps power play unit stands around waiting for who knows what.

5. Shoot... the... puck. Get shots to the net. Passing the puck around the perimeter may look cute, but it's ineffective if it's done too much. The penalty killers can easily read the play to pick off passes and ice the puck. More shots need to get through. You can't score if you don't shoot.

If the Caps can't convert on opportunities, they are not going very far. The Caps power play sets up other things for them. A good power play will open the ice for their high powered offense. If the defenders are too afraid to take a penalty, the more open ice you will find.

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