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Is Chicago’s power play still a big concern?

Aug 16, 2013, 9:40 PM EDT

sharpppggetty Getty Images

For all the accolades the Chicago Blackhawks collected in their 2013 Stanley Cup run, one unit that rarely wowed people was the power play.

On paper, Chicago’s man advantage should blister any and all opponents, yet that group faced persistent questions.

Then again, maybe it’s a matter of perspective. As GM Stan Bowman hinted at during the team’s convention in late July, the team’s staunch penalty kill should ease at least some of those concerns (via ESPN).

“Special teams is always important,” Bowman said. “I think we had a great penalty kill last year really from beginning to end. I think our power play is the one area where we had spurts where it was very successful. I think we’d like to get that like the penalty kill, to have that to be a dominant force.”

Considering context

It’s fine to question the PP, but do note these factors:

  • The Blackhawks power play – at least percentage wise – has been below the league average mark quite a bit lately.
  • Conversely, their penalty kill has been well above average.
  • Most importantly: they’ve scored more power play goals than they’ve allowed three of the last four seasons.

Here’s a quick study of Chicago’s special teams in relation to the rest of the NHL in the last four seasons.*

2013

League avg. 18.22 (PP); 81.78 (PK)
CHI: 16.67 (PP); 87.23 (PK) +7 special teams

2011-12

League avg. 17.31 (PP); 82.69 (PK)
CHI: 15.16 (PP); 78.11 (PK) -9 special teams

2010-11

League avg. 18.02 (PP); 81.98 (PK)
CHI: 23.10 (PP); 79.22 (PK) +11 special teams

2009-10

League avg. 18.23 (PP); 81.77 (PK)
CHI: 17.69 (PP); 84.96 (PK) +12 special teams

Changing the conversation

As you can see, the special teams picture looks prettier when you consider a mostly effective PK. After all, if you had to choose, wouldn’t you rather have an elite penalty kill?

(Especially with a team that’s regularly dominant at even-strength.)

There’s no doubt that the Blackhawks would benefit from scoring more regularly on the man advantage. Still, when you consider that their highest mark (an astounding 23.1 percent efficiency in 2010-11) came in the worst of the four seasons in question, it’s clear that context matters.

Then again, maybe the Blackhawks just really miss Brian Campbell.

* – Special teams plus/minus refers to power-play goals scored minus allowed in this case. If you’re wondering, Chicago scored far more shorthanded goals than they allowed during the past four seasons.

More Blackhawks day on PHT:

Pirri leads list of ‘Hawks prospects to watch

Second-line center spot up for grabs in Chicago

Crawford’s cloudy future

Is a hangover coming?

  1. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 16, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    It is an absolute mystery with the skilled players they have. At some level, it has to be a coaching issue.

    • yustasayin - Aug 16, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      Or their skill level is suspect

  2. blackhawks2010 - Aug 17, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    Power play can only get better….that’s a scary thought for the rest of the league.

  3. earpaniac - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:47 AM

    Their PP has been a mystery for several years. You’d think they’d be much better than they are with all that skill. Scary thought for the rest of the NHL if they get to where they should be.

  4. rendy09o - Aug 17, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    Job opportunity for everyone! Work from comfort of your home, on your computer and you can work with your own working hours. You can work this job as a part time or as a full time job. You can earn from 65$ an hour to 1000$ a day! There is no limitations, it all depends from you and how much you want to earn each day. Go to this site home tab for more detail… http://WWW.BAY96.COM

  5. wjarvis - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    It’s not that big of a mystery, they never shoot on the PP. In someways the Hawks have too much skill and always seem to be looking for a wide open net instead of just a reasonable scoring chance before shooting.

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