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Power Play Opportunities: Week 3

This is part 3 of this series. Last week we noticed a drop of interference calls by 30% which also saw a drop in Power Play Opportunities, PPOs, by 25% which translated in a 7% drop in the average of Power Play Goals, PPG, scored. This season it seemed as though the NHL were going to crack down on interference. In doing so, it would either create more opportunities for scoring at even strength or be rewarded with a PPO. If interferences were going to be called, then the NHL fans would be treated with a fast paced game where scoring chances increases the likelihood there will be more scoring unless you have a replica of the Dominator playing shadow goalie behind your current goalie or you have Fasth as your shadow goalie. Am I biased? Maybe, but these following stats are not.

Interference Penalties 2012-2013

Date

4-Feb

5-Feb

6-Feb

7-Feb

Totals A

Penalty

4

10

3

18

35

Games

5

10

3

12

30

Interference per Game

0.80

1.00

1.00

1.50

1.16

Interference Penalties 2012-2013

Date

8-Feb

9-Feb

10-Feb

Totals B

Week 3

Penalty

0

13

3

16

51

Games

1

11

6

18

48

Interference per Game

0.00

1.18

0.50

0.89

1.06

Interference Penalties 2012-2013

Date

Week 1

Week 2

Total

Week 3

Totals

Penalty

107

60

167

51

218

Games

72

50

122

48

170

Interference per Game

1.49

1.20

1.37

1.06

1.28

This is the second week in a row where we’re detecting a drop interference calls. It’s not a drastic drop like last week’s 30% drop, but 7% is still a considerable drop. So in two weeks, the total drop is a 37%. If Jean-Luc Picard were to witness this stat, then he would be shaking his head as he notices the path leads directly past the neutral zone and into worm hole that warps us back to 2011, the era of where hockey moves slower than the Art of Tai Chi. We need a Geordi La Forge to reverse the polarity of this ship because I’m getting tired of seeing our Ducks being held up after dumping the puck into the offensive zone when they’re speeding down the ice.

Power Play Opportunites, 2012-13

Date

2005/06

2011/12

27-Jan

3-Feb

10-Feb

PPO

14390

8132

653

1046

1367

PPO Avg

479.6

271.1

21.8

34.9

45.6

PPOA/Game

5.84

3.31

4.53

4.29

4.16

Ana PPOA/G

5.85

3.30

2.75

3.00

3.09

Ana PPO

480

271

11

21

34

Ana Rank

16th

12th

30th

28th

The past seven days have added onto the misery of less calls being made. Last week it was about a 25% drop in PPOs. This week the drop is another 13%. A 37% drop total for two weeks in PPOs, just like the total two week drop for interference calls. On this quest, we have established a correlation between interference calls, PPOs, and PPGs: it’s a direct relationship. If one stat increases, then all stats increase. Similarly, if one stat decreases, then all stats decrease. (I am so not looking forward to discover how much the PPG average has dropped… again.)

Not all is doom and gloom. Our Ducks have crept out of the basement in forcing more PPOs. Unfortunately, we’re still in the morgue due to our putrid results. We are still not generating the average number of calls per game. To make matters worse, the Ducks lost their only defenseman that can skate from end to end with the puck, Cam Fowler, due to a LA Kings’ Jarrett Stoll boarding of Cam’s face to where the glass meets the edge of the boards. Cam left the game immediately and has been placed on injured reserved due to an upper body injury. That’s code word for concussion. President of Player Safety and Hockey Operations Brendan Shanahan has decided to not review the hit despite Stoll’s previous history and Cam Fowler’s absence. I really think Shanny’s got it out for the Ducks because of the Ducks’ shutting him and Red Wings down in 2003 playoffs as well as trouncing the Red Wings org on the way to the Ducks’ first Championship in 2007 (though Shanny wasn’t part of that Red Wings team any longer). Of course, during that time we had Prongs and his elbows doing a lot of talking. But I digress.

Fowler’s injury gave way to super phenom Sami Vatanen becoming a mainstay. Hip, hip, Horay! Hip, hip, hey – why is Vatanen getting pushed around by bigger forwards? Even though Sami was skating smoothly, very good with the puck on the stick, quick smarts on how to play the puck along the boards, and possesses good vision, it was on the defensive end that made Vatanen a liability. On a smaller ice against better talent than any Norfolk opponent can throw at him, Vatanen needs more time to adjust to find the correct angle as well as timing as Sami will need to utilize his stick and craftiness to thwart bigger players. He just needs time and experience. Another factor Vatanen couldn’t overcome was to have Allen as his defensive pairing. Because Allen is slew footed and has trouble controlling the puck with either his stick or skates, it leaves Vatanen even more exposed to be exploited on the other side of the ice. It’s not a great match right now for both of them. Thus the prompting of a trade to acquire defenseman Ben Lovejoy from Pittsburg for a five round pick in 2014 draft on February 6, 2013. Coincidently, the last game our 5’9” darling, Vatanen played. In comes 6’2” Lovejoy because around that time we were given terrible news that Fowler was put on injured reserve status. Ben is a serviceable, big, lower pairing defenseman who can skate. Do not expect any more from him. Sami was sent back down to Norfolk on February 9.

Without Fowler or Vatanen, the Ducks lack a puck moving defensemen by their skates. Luca has been timid. Beauch loves to pinch and so does Souray. Lindholm, the other young phenom who stands at 6’2”, is still recovering from two concussions. He has the ability to skate the puck out of the defensive zone and not be a liability to be overpowered due to his stature. We should be saddened as Ducks’ fans because Fowler’s absence hurts the team in offense, defense, and special teams. Concussions caused by dirty plays have two Ducklings not playing anywhere. The league needs to address this issue… well, because since we lost Parros we have no one to step up to address it with the other team. I’m sorry Beleskey, but you’re not as intimidating as Parros nor his ‘stache. Respect the ‘stache!

Power Play Goals, 2012-13

Date

2005/06

2011/12

22-Jan

3-Feb

10-Feb

PPG

2545

1408

73

208

265

PPG Avg

84.8

46.9

2.43

6.9

8.83

PPGA/Game

1.03

0.57

1.04

0.85

0.81

Ana PPGA/G

1.06

0.55

1.50

1.00

0.73

Ana PPG

87

45

3

7

8

Rank

13th

19th

PP Efficiency

18.1%

16.6%

33.3%

23.5%

PPE Rank

15th

21st

3rd

6th

As you can tell, the NHL average for PPG has dropped 4% for this week. It may not seem that bad of a drop, but the fact that teams are earning less penalty calls makes any drop loom large. Over a three week period, a 23% differential is a catastrophic drop. That means teams need to make the most of their opportunities.

And this is where Duck fans can come out of the woodworks as we can say that our PP will punish any team for their infractions. Well, that’s if you meet the Ducks when they decide to score. This week the Ducks played four games against San Jose, Colorado, Dallas, and St. Louis. We went 3-1, losing to Dallas as well as losing Hiller in the first period. (We called up JDD. Trust me, you don’t want to remember those initials or the real name. Because if you do see his name, then we are going to be in deep doo doo.) Here’s how our PP unit fared: vs SJ, 0/5; @ Col, 1/2; @ Dal, 0/3; @ StL, 0/1. The result for the week is 1 out of 11 chances, or 9% efficiency. That is not efficient at all, but because we had limited opportunities the result doesn’t affect our average and overall ranking. Saku Koivu is our savior for netting the only goal on the PP. Teemu and Souray earned the assists on the PPG.

The league average for PPOs is about 4.16 chances per game. This week alone the Ducks have averaged 2.75 chances per game. We simply are not earning penalty calls despite our speed, vision, and grittiness as I have described in Week 2’s article. And when they do go on the PP, they have a feast or famine mentality, again described in Week 2’s article. Although the stats show the Ducks to be lower tiered PP team, the team can seek comfort that all those wonderful descriptions have the team scoring well at Even Strength, ES. The Ducks are ranked tied for 3rd in overall goals for per game (GF/G) average with a rate of 3.36, or 37 goals in 11 games. Also, we boast four players in the top five of plus/minus (+/-) ratings: 1. Koivu, +11; T-2. Souray, +10; T-5. Winnik, +9; T-5. Beauchemin, +9. There are six in the top 16 (there are many ties) of +/- ratings, Selanne and Ryan rounding out rest of the Ducks.

Here are the recent lines and then I’ll conclude.

Forwards:

Etem-Getz-Perry

Palms-Ryan-Selanne

Cogs-Koivu-Winnik

Beleskey-Bonino-Staubitz

Defensemen:

Beauchemin-Souray

Lydman-Sbisa

Allen-Lovejoy

Our top line is not carrying this team. We’re rolling one great line (third), one very good line(second), and two good lines. The top pairing of Beauchemin and Souray is a wonderful surprise as you can see both in the top 5 ranking in +/- ratings. But we should be worried about not generating more PPOs since we can be potent. Therein lies another problem. Since we don’t receive enough time on the PP, we don’t have that cohesiveness or chemistry to be consistent. Hence, we are a feast or famine PP team. Just to show you the discrepancy I will show you the bottom five teams for the PPO ranking.

PPO Rankings (Lower tier)

Rank

Team

GP

PPG

PPO

PCT

26

NYR

10

4

38

15.8

27

Calgary

9

9

36

25.0

28

Anaheim

11

8

34

23.5

Boston

9

3

34

08.8

30

Colorado

10

3

33

09.1

Assuming we’re playing the beautiful game the right way, there’s only one thing we can do to generate calls. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but with a different player this time. We have to pull a Kari Lehtonen to where we dropped dead to the ice as if we hit by some Nancy Kerrigan hired goons. Once we get the call, then you have to continue to look hurt and not smile like Lehtonen did after inducing a call. That dramatic rendition destroyed our momentum early in the third period against Dallas. In the same tone as James T. Kirk (from the original Star Trek; not the contemporary one who gets his arse kicked more often than a soccer ball at an indoor arena), “Kaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh-ri!”



This article is user-generated. It does not necessarily reflect the views of Anaheim Calling. Please do not link this article as representative of Anaheim Calling content or viewpoints . . . unless it's <em>really</em> really good.

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