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What is a good power play, really? November 16, 2010

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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I was at the Vancouver game last night, and I knew going in that Vancouver had the #1-rated power play on the road. They didn’t disappoint, scoring two goals with the man advantage. But did I see anything that made me sit up and say “That’s the key! That’s why they scored that goal! That’s what’s missing in the Sabres attack!”

No, I didn’t.

Maybe I’m ignorant, or maybe the Sabres are missing a whole lot of little things. So that got me to thinking: what are the components of a good power play, really?

Let me see if I can break it down. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments if you think I’m wrong or missed something.

Components of a successful power play:

  1. Someone to stand in front of the net, get their butt kicked, and screen the goaltender. This person should also be good at deflecting shots if at all possible. Guys who do this on the Sabres: Thomas Vanek, Paul Gaustad
  2. Someone along the half-wall or at the point to “run” the power play. This position is often called the power play quarterback. They are the one who corrals the pass once it’s in the offensive zone and doles it out to the other guys to shoot. Guys who do this on the Sabres: Tim Connolly, Derek Roy
  3. Players on the “points” (blue line) to not only provide defense if need be, but also to keep the puck in the offensive zone and take shots from the point that get through the four opposing defenders, preferably at a low enough height that they don’t kill anybody. Guys who do this on the Sabres: Jason Pominville, Jordan Leopold, Tyler Myers, Andrej Sekera, Craig Rivet, and a host of others at one time or another.
  4. Other players to float around the periphery to confuse the opposing defenders. Players who do this on the Sabres: Tyler Ennis, Jochen Hecht, Mike Grier, Drew Stafford

So where is the Sabres power play going wrong? Which of these four components is failing? What was working so well last night for Vancouver?

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