The fact the Phoenix Coyotes don’t have the most dynamic group of forwards in the NHL hasn’t stopped them from scoring the third most power-play goals in the NHL, with 55.
Only the Washington Capitals (65) and Pittsburgh Penguins (60) have more goals with the man advantage, and we all know what kind of firepower those clubs boast up front.
How have the ‘Yotes done it? Defenseman Keith Yandle credits one of the new assistant coaches for the team’s success — a success it didn’t enjoy last season, when the power play ranked 25th.
“Bringing in a guy like Newell Brown, he’s helped change that,” Yandle said, per NHL.com.
Brown’s last job was in Vancouver, where he helped the Canucks score a pile of goals on the power play, particularly in 2010-11 and 2011-12. He was fired at the end of last season, along with head coach Alain Vigneault and assistant Rick Bowness, after his specialty slumped to 22nd.
In Phoenix, having point men like Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson certainly hasn’t hurt Brown’s cause. Nor have right-handed finishers up front like Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan, each with 10 power-play goals this season.
We only mention the right-handed shots, because here’s what Brown said after being let go by the Canucks: “When you’re trying to run a power play with five left shots, which we were forced to do a lot this year, you’re really swimming upstream. Seventy-seven per cent of the power-play goals are scored with at least two right shots, so that tells you a lot right there. Not to say there are exceptions to the rule, but when you have five left shots, or even four, your chances of scoring are diminished.”
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.