Tag: power play

Darryl Sutter, Rob Scuderi, Drew Doughty

Sutter says Kings power play is “awesome”

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Say what you want the Kings’ new head coach, but one thing that Darryl Sutter has certainly been is successful. The Kings are unbeaten in regulation since the Sutter took over five games ago; and they’re 4-0-2 overall in their last six games as they continue to work towards a playoff spot. Despite the victories lately, the problem that the followed the team continues to hinder the club: scoring.

Sutter would like to tell you that those stats don’t matter. Who cares if they have the 25th ranked power play in the league? Who cares if they’re the worst scoring team in entire NHL (by a large margin)? Despite the persistent troubles with the man-advantage, Sutter likes what he sees from his new team.

“Our power play is awesome, other than the 5-on-3, in the two games we just played,” Sutter said after Saturday’s morning skate. “…I know, if I’m watching upstairs or I’m covering, I’m saying, `Oh, the power play,’ because it’s 14 percent or whatever, but you have to give them — especially the young players on the power play — you have to give them the ability to use their ability.”

Just to review, the Kings “awesome” power play has only scored twice in their last 42 opportunities. The 5-on-3 opportunity Sutter spoke about was nearly a full two minute, two-man advantage during the Kings 1-0 loss in Winnipeg. Having a strong power play is important for any team, but it’s even more important for a team that is struggling to score goals at even strength.

Perhaps that’s why the team practiced on their power play the day after a redeye flight from Manitoba (and back-to-back games).

Los Angeles will get to show what they learned tonight against the Canucks in their final game of 2011. At this point, fans at Staples Center may want a power play that is a little less awesome, and settle for one that is a little more productive.

Note to Chicago power play: The season started a month ago

Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks
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Just imagine if the Blackhawks power play knew how to find the net. As of today, they’re sitting on top of the Western Conference standings due in large part to the best offense in the West. They’re keeping the puck out of their own net and their penalty kill is among the best in the league. Yet still, the weak power play keeps people wondering: how good can this team be?

The numbers on the power play have been ugly. The Hawks have only scored four power play goals after a month (in 45 chances). It’s shocking considering names like Hossa, Kane, Toews, Sharp, and Keith spend time on the man-advantage. That doesn’t sound like a power play that would struggle. But the fact remains that they haven’t scored a power play goal since October 22.

The players don’t sound too worried. It’s one thing to be unproductive, but it’s another thing to be ineffective. The Hawks think they’re getting their chances. Patrick Kane said, “We’re doing everything except putting it in the net.” Marian Hossa said they aren’t frustrated because they’re doing a lot of good things. So that’s the good news: they’re moving the puck around and creating prime scoring chances.

Still, it comes back to productivity. A team with the as much talent as the Blackhawks shouldn’t be rocking the 29th ranked power play in the league. Head coach Joel Quenneville understands that it’s nice to create chances, but at some point they need to start putting the puck in the net. “We’re generating but we need production,” Quenneville said. “That’s what we measure and that’s what we’re looking to attain.”

Let’s get this straight: this is a team that thinks they aren’t producing the way they think they should. If they figure it out any time soon, the people at United Center might need another copy of Chelsea Dagger. The other one might be worn out before the season’s over.