[Open Thread] Sharks Gameday: Where Is The Power Play?

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When Todd McLellan came over from Detroit, the consensus was that he would revamp the ever-frustrating power play.

Thus far it's been wishful thinking.

The Sharks come into tonight's game 19th in the league with the man advantage, posting a paltry 16.1% success rate. Not exactly the 20.7% Detroit put up last year with Sweeney Todd at the helm; nor is it even at Ron-Wilson era levels. Granted we're dealing with a much smaller sample size, but 17 games is enough elapsed time to rile up some level of concern.

Hold your breath, the sky isn't falling. Not yet at least.

Year

Coach

Home PP

Away PP

Total PP

08-09

Todd McLellan

7/54

13.0%

7/33

21.2%

14/87

16.1%

07-08 Ron Wilson

39/206

18.9%

31/168

18.4%

70/374

18.7%

06-07 Ron Wilson

53/223

23.8%

39/187

20.9%

92/410

22.4%

05-06 Ron Wilson

48/257

18.7%

43/243

17.7%

91/500

18.2%

03-04 Ron Wilson

29/172

16.8%

27/165

16.3%

56/337

16.6%

 

The home percentage is dreadful; but what jumps out at me is the rate at which the power play is firing away from HP Pavilion. If you care to think back to last year, the Sharks were the best road team in the NHL (in terms of overall record). Carry over or coincidence? I'll leave that one to you.

As for this season, the experiment of having Big Joe camped out in front of the net seems to have either been forgotten or scrapped for a more favorable model. Personally I'm not too beat up over the whole thing- the more time he spends with the puck looking for the open man, the better. Thornton has also ditched the idea that camping on the sideboards firing errant centering pass after errant centering pass is an effective strategy. Baby steps have never looked so good on such a big guy.

I mentioned this in the Nashville game wrap up, so excuse me for being repetitive and quoting myself. Nonetheless I feel it is a valid point.

Nashville was not loathe to pressure the point shooters (which is probably going to be opposing teams M.O. from here on out). I’m sure Boyle will help shore things up a bit against Calgary, but the Sharks were/are having trouble making a cross ice pass to the weak side forward. It’s frustrating to see what we saw last year on the man advantage. All our passes are vertically inclined.

If teams aren’t going to respect the lower end of the zone, by all means, make them pay for it. Pressure down low will open up the cannons from the point.

So how does this apply to tonight's game? In last year's playoffs, the Sharks power play was one of the many reasons we went the full seven with Calgary, bowed out at the hands of the Dallas Stars, and came up with the slogan "The Second Round Is Overrated". Both teams failed to respect our power play, and therefore were able to take liberties with our skilled players (see Morrow-Michalek; Sarich-Marleau). If San Jose is going to stay healthy this season, they need to make teams pay on the powerplay.

It's pretty apparent we know how to shoot the rubber- let's start putting some of those pucks in the back of the net.

Prediction: Sharks win 3-2. Goals by Boyle, Blake, and The Gooch. All goals come on the powerplay; rest assured Todd McLellan reads this blog. Every. Single. Day.

 

Go Sharks.

 

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