Solution to Penguins Power-Play Woes: Shoooooot! – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Solution to Penguins Power-Play Woes: Shoooooot!

I never played hockey. Can’t skate a lick. But even I know you have to shoot the puck to score.

I wonder if the Penguins do?

For all their wondrous talent, the Pens’ power play has morphed into a black hole where scoring chances go to die. There’s a reason our boys are 0-for-18 and counting with the man advantage. They don’t shoot the puck. Not enough, anyway.

Think Alex Ovechkin needs to be told to shoot? The Pens need to emulate “Ovy.”

Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to Washington was especially grating. Handed a gift power play in the final minutes when Caps forward Brooks Laich nudged goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in the paint, the black and gold gave a clinic on what not to do with the man advantage.

Leading the malfeasance was none other than our captain, Sidney Crosby. At a critical juncture El Sid gained possession of the puck just inside the right faceoff circle. Prime scoring turf, right?

Instead of shooting, Crosby tried to feather a touch pass through the slot. Not into the slot, mind you, where a teammate might deflect it on goal. Through it. Big difference.

Naturally, the play was broken up, which begat yet another endless sequence of tic-tac-toe passing around the perimeter as precious seconds drained from the clock.

Will these guys ever learn? Cute won’t cut it. Neither will east-west passing and the sharp-angle shots (another Pens specialty) that usually ricochet crazily off the boards and out of the zone. Fancy play does nothing but give opposing penalty killers time to set up.

I’m no strategist. But it seems to me the Pens need to attack down the middle more often and provide puck support from the outside, instead of the other way around. The grinders—with a little help from Kris Letang—provided a blueprint early in the second period. “Tanger” fed Craig Adams steaming down the slot. Adams put the puck on net. Steve Downie made like a street cleaner and swept the rebound past Braden Holtby. They don’t come any uglier. Or prettier, depending on your perspective.

Goals don’t need to be picture perfect to count. If only our stars would learn…

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  1. Pen's 4ever's Gravatar Pen's 4ever
    February 22, 2015 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Rick it has been this way since the MArio and Jagr days..” make it look pretty “.
    I coach my kids hockey teams here in Canada and we as coaches tell the kids if you have a chance at a shot on net , take it. If not look for an open teammate so they can shoot it.
    Problem is I think coach Mike is afraid to tell our “superstars” to shoot the puck and not pass it so much

  2. Barry Lush's Gravatar Barry Lush
    February 18, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Think it’s time I go order my Craig Adams jersey :p

    -Barry Lush

    Go pens

  3. Levi's Gravatar Levi
    February 18, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I think it goes both ways, obviously you want to shoot the puck as much as possible (and come on, they players know that) but have you seen what a shooting lane actually looks like? And that’s not the sarcastic “I play hockey so I’m right and you’re dumb” angle I’m taking here, not at all (I play inline hockey and I suck). Even when it looks like there’s a clear path to the net, SOMETIMES it’s really not. Now, I 100% agree that the Pens pass up a lot of chances to put it on net, but at least SOME of those are warranted.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      February 18, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Hey Levi,

      The fact that you play inline hockey certainly gives you a leg up on me. And your point is well taken. No, I’ve never seen a shooting lane up close and personal.

      I realize there’s a balance between mindlessly firing off shots every time the puck touches your stick and endlessly passing the puck around the perimeter. As in life, however, you can’t always wait for the perfect opportunity to present itself. Sometimes you have to force the issue.

      That’s the rub I have with the Pens’ power play. By instinct, they seem driven to set up the perfect play. Understandable to a degree, given the supreme talent we have. But not always effective.

      When in doubt, I’d rather see them shoot. Even if they don’t have a clear lane, maybe the puck deflects in off a defenseman’s stick.

  4. February 18, 2015 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    shoot would be great cause trying to make opponents fall down dizzy with constant passing is just not working #headspinning

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      February 18, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink



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