Re: Powerplay Percentage
posted at 2/15/2013 10:08 AM EST
"Truth is, the Bruins could have and probably should have erased the Capitals in Round 1, and even a half-decent power play would have made that possible. But the power play was an abysmal 2 for 23, which left general manager Peter Chiarelli lamenting the "parity" throughout the league and the narrow margin between winning and losing in today's fast-paced, salary-capped NHL.
All true. Yet, two or three more timely power-play strikes - in a series that had all seven games decided by a single goal - would have meant at least another round or two of playoff hockey around here, and it was Neely who ultimately noted that the club's man-advantage was "static," which is polite terminology for "ossified."
Good power plays, even when they don't score, move the puck quickly and authoritatively around the defensive box, with the five-man unit making quick reads and decisive passes, or mixing in finesse one-touch relays or clever redirections.
When a power play is on, the puck looks light. That is not how the Bruins do it. Their power play is predictable, methodical, stale, the puck sliding like a curling stone.
When Marc Savard was in residence (more on him later), he quarterbacked the power play from the right corner or half-wall, his quick stick and lightning reads proving the secret sauce of success.
Here is a good power play by Neely's definition:" Watch a lot of other hockey and a lot of other power plays. What I see is a lot of movement, getting pucks down low, getting them to the net." "I think that's important, but . . . a lot of movement. Make it more difficult for the penalty killers. Thata "n area, when I look at good power plays, that's what I see is coming out of it.
"Confidence, too. When your power play is good, your players have a lot more confidence. You know, they try different things. When you go out there and you are not as confident in your power play, it will show if you don't have the confidence to do what you want to do."
One way to create effective movement is for a point man to scoot deep down his wing, the opposite point man to shift over to his spot, and for the winger on that latter point manÂs side of the ice then to fill the point he has vacated. The Bruins did some of that, and might have done more if it paid off, which goes back to Neelys comment about confidence. When nothing works, confidence remains low and production nonexistent.
The last two years of playoffs have shown that the Bruins either have to find Savard's equal at quarterback (Tyler Seguin is the lone in-house candidate) or find a new way of doing business, getting players in motion, creating passing lanes and looks at the net. Neely touched on that latter point when he said the club needed a philosophical difference of how we look at the power play.
Translation: The coaching triumvirate of Claude Julien, Geoff Ward, and Doug Houda has had the better part of two seasons sans Savard to get the power play out of bankruptcy. It was a near-miracle that they won a Cup without one in 2011. They whiffed again on making a remedy in 2012, and in the end, it translated to a first-round knockout.
If it remains bankrupt next season, leading again to a quick postseason dismissal, Neely and Chiarelli will do more than talk about "tweaks." If the fix isn't in, one or more of the coaching staff will be out."
"We got away with it last year," said Neely. "This year it bit us in the butt."