FanPost

Power Play Opportunities: Week 4 (End of Month Review)

Our end of the month review of Power Play Opportunities (PPOs), interference calls, and how our Ducks compare to the league, though not necessarily all in that order. In the past three weeks I have a shown a pattern of a direct relationship between the frequency of interference infractions, PPOs, and PP goals in the league. Yet, if you were watch our Anaheim Ducks’ games, then one would have to wonder about the consistency of how the game is being regulated by the referees as our Ducks seem to not earn or generate PPOs.

Let us define what an interference call is, as per NHL.com. I will abridge the information due to its lengthy content, and the fact that my content is lengthy enough there definitely is no need to bore you anymore than I already have. But I will leave a link just in case boredom is not enough.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=26348

Rule 56 - Interference

56.1 Interference - A strict standard on acts of interference must be adhered to in all areas of the rink.

A. Body Position:

A player is allowed the ice he is standing on (body position) and is not required to move in order to let an opponent proceed. A player may “block” the path of an opponent provided he is in front of his opponent and moving in the same direction. Moving laterally and without establishing body position, then making contact with the non-puck carrier is not permitted and will be penalized as interference.

B. Possession of the Puck: The player deemed in possession of the puck may be checked legally, provided the check is rendered immediately following his loss of possession.

C. Restrain: The actions of a player or goalkeeper who does not have body position, but instead uses illegal means (e.g. hook with stick; hold with hands, trip with the stick or in any manner) to impede an opponent who is not in possession of the puck. Illegal means are acts which allow a player or goalkeeper to establish, maintain or restore body position other than by skating.

D. Pick: A player delivering a “pick” is one who moves into an opponent’s path without initially having body position, thereby taking him out of the play. When this is done, an interference penalty shall be assessed.

E. Free Hand: When a free hand is used to hold, pull, tug, grab or physically restrain an opponent from moving freely, this must be penalized as holding. The free hand may be used by a player to “fend off” an opponent or his stick, but may not be used to hold an opponent’s stick or body.

F. Stick: A player who does not have body position on his opponent, who uses his stick (either the blade or the shaft, including the butt-end of the shaft) to impede or prevent his opponent from moving freely on the ice shall be assessed a hooking penalty.

The degrees of interference penalty:

56.2 Minor Penalty

56.3 Bench Minor Penalty

56.4 Major Penalty

56.5 Game Misconduct Penalty

56.6 Penalty Shot

56.7 Awarded Goal

Okay, did we get all that? I put into bold some of the more pertinent facts. Hooking, tripping, and holding are interference infractions, but since they are more specific to the action, then it is called as said infraction, including holding the stick. So what factors play into calling an interference penalty?

Only two factors make up the interference penalty:

1. Establishing body position, which includes moving in the same direction with the puck handler

2. A pick.

The next question to ask is why are not the calls being made? The calls are not being made because of bias and having no uniform standard as to when a player has lost puck possession. When I state bias, I mean referees have presumed a play happened a certain way in their minds as they think of it logically. And because of that logic, every referee has their own time frame as to when an interference infraction should be called a penalty.

Another reason interference penalties, or aptly PICKS, are not being called is because they are not so obvious unless it is embellished or too obvious as in a case where Perry was knocked down crossing the crease. On the PP or PK, the referees only have to focus on one end of the ice as well as one aspect of the game. During even strength, there is too much on going to pay attention to little picks that actually make a huge difference as a result of the pick such as creating a man advantage for a couple of seconds.

Odd as it may seem, but all of these interference calls were being made more often at the beginning of the year. The referees can be more cognizant of the infraction if they wanted to pay attention to that aspect of the game. Without further adieu, the stats we are so looking forward towards.

Interference Penalties 2012-2013

Date

11-Feb

12-Feb

13-Feb

14-Feb

Totals A

Penalty

8

15

4

6

33

Games

6

10

3

6

25

Interference per Game

1.33

1.50

1.33

1.00

1.32

Interference Penalties 2012-2013

Date

15-Feb

16-Feb

17-Feb

Totals B

Week 4

Penalty

10

8

5

23

56

Games

8

8

7

23

48

Interference per Game

1.25

1.14

0.71

1.00

1.16

Interference Penalties 2012-2013

Date

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Totals

Penalty

107

60

51

56

274

Games

72

50

48

48

218

Interference per Game

1.49

1.20

1.06

1.16

1.26

Sum at end of each week

1.49

1.36

1.28

1.26

Holy cow, Batman, but I think someone in the high offices of the NHL may have noticed this downward trend that interference infractions are not being identified and called as penalties! Between the past two weeks, interference penalty calls are up by about 10 percent. There is a glimmer of hope yet that the game will not slow down to a snail’s pace. Yet I throw a caution: when I compare the first week to the fourth week we notice there is still a 33% drop in calls.

Also, I added another statistical category of Sum at End of Each Week. This stat helps to follow the progression or regression by the weeks instead of seeing a final tally at the end. (I have a feeling I’m not essssplaining this category sufficiently. Week 1 is week 1. Week 2 is the sum of Weeks 1 and 2. Week 3 is the sum of Weeks 1, 2, and 3.) Essentially, I’m simply collecting the end totals so that we may see the sum averages as we continue to add more information. Okay, so now that I’ve bored you out of two minutes of your life, you can rest assured that the characters in the Big Bang Theory really exist as the minutia of information such as presented may mean a whole helluva lot to me, but probably not so much to everyone else as goals and power play goals happen to have a more direct results to wins and losses. And with that, let’s take a look at PPOs and PPGs for this past week.

Power Play Opportunites, 2012-13

Date

2005/06

2011/12

27-Jan

10-Feb

17-Feb

PPO

14390

8132

653

1367

1749

PPO Avg

479.6

271.1

21.8

45.6

58.3

PPOA/Game

5.84

3.31

4.53

4.16

4.03

Ana PPOA/G

5.85

3.30

2.75

3.09

3.14

Ana PPO

480

271

11

34

44

Ana Rank

16th

12th

28th

29th

This is the first week that interference calls and PPOs are trending in opposite directions as PPOs are up by 13 points, or 3%. I have nothing to explain this except that whistled are being swallowed. On the positive side, our Ducks are slowing creeping up in PPOs. Unfortunately, we are still being passed up as we fall down one rank to 29th in PPOs. Let’s recap our past three weeks in PPO rankings: 30th, 28th, and 29th , respectively. We are so not getting or generating calls. Okay, we need to take some flopping lessons or someone in our staff needs to make a comparison video so we can start getting calls like everyone else!

For this week, we had 10 PPOs. The league averaged about 13 PPOs. That’s three less calls than the average.

Power Play Goals, 2012-13

Date

2005/06

22-Jan

3-Feb

10-Feb

10-Feb

PPG

2545

73

208

265

330

PPG Avg

84.8

2.43

6.9

8.83

11

PPGA/Game

1.03

1.04

0.85

0.81

0.76

Ana PPGA/G

1.06

1.50

1.00

0.73

0.64

Ana PPG

87

3

7

8

9

Rank

13th

19th

19th

PP Efficiency

18.1%

60.0%

33.3%

23.5%

20.5%

PPE Rank

15th

3rd

6th

9th

Not surprisingly, when the PPOs goes down so do the PPG’s. Personally, I think our Ducks are the ones bringing that average way down. In 10 PPOs, we have scored only one goal. ONE FREAKING goal on the PP!

The Ducks played three games this week. Week recap of PPG/PPO:

Game 1: Ana 1/4, Chi 1/5; Getzlaf with a PPG (Assists: Bones and Lovejoy); We had a one minute, two man advantage – it was a three minute PP and still couldn’t score.

Game 2: Ana 0/3, Det 1/4;

Game 3: Ana 0/1, Nas 0/5; We had a two minute, two man advantage.

I haven’t had too much time to review all three games in depth, but I did pay attention to the only PP we had against Nashville. We had a two man advantage, but treated it like a 5-on-4 PP. There were two men up high on the point, one player in each corner, and one player in front of the crease. The PP had no movement. We were delivering point shots, but from the middle of the ice with only one player in the crease. That isn’t a lot to fight through for a goalie and thus making it easier for Rinne to predict the puck travel to get into position.

The PP game plan seemed to have predicted two outcomes: either Souray blasts one from the point or the rebound will go to a corner and we should be able to pop a rebound. Yet this PP is a two man advantage. Why isn’t there another man in the crease to create an even bigger screen? Why didn’t we create a fluid three man umbrella with two in the crease? Or why aren’t we moving enough on the PP to create distraction with the defensemen?

Here’s what I don’t comprehend, we suck terribly on the PK. That means we have a lot of video on successful PP units from opposing teams. That is 15 individual instructional videos for our special teams coach and personnel to cultivate the knowledge of how to score with the man advantage. We should be making teams pay in the limited PP action we earn. But it seems as though our PP droughts are masked by our ES play.

The team needs to force some luck while on the PP. Instead, I think we’re too fancy. We’re not a gritty enough team in front of the net with the man advantage. May be that is why we are so great playing and scoring at ES, even strength. We do possess that transitional game in three of the four lines, with our first line of Beleskey-Getz-Perry being the only line that cycles a grinding game. (The third line of Cogs-Koivu-Winnik also cycle, but they’re more of a finesse bump touch-pass-shoot-score mentality.)

I think in the first week of this project article I denoted the many players’ attributes. On defense, we had only one puck moving defenseman in Cam Fowler. A semi-puck moving defenseman in Sbisa. The rest of the defensemen move the puck via stick. On the power play, the inability to move as a defenseman hurts us such that the opposition knows that our defensemen will remain up high for long point shots. We lose that unpredictability factor when our defensemen don’t move their feet. That is why Cam is so important to the Ducks’. Cam loves to pinch in constantly because he also has the speed to get back to the blue line effortlessly. When Cam does pinch in, then the defense has to be aware of his presences or he will take advantage of being left alone.

If our PP production doesn’t improve, then we should fire the special teams coach. Assume the first game of the season versus Vancouver was fluky because their netminder was off his game, where we went 3 for 3 on the PP. We go from a 9 out of 44 PP unit (20.5% efficiency, rank 9th) to 6 out of 41 chances (14.6% efficiency, rank 23rd overall).

PPO Rankings (Lower tier)

Week 4

Rank

Team

GP

PPG

PPO

PCT

26

Calgary

13

13

49

26.5

27

Nashville

15

7

48

14.6

28

Boston

13

6

46

13.0

29

Anaheim

14

9

44

20.5

30

Colorado

13

5

43

11.6

Presuming we keep a low PPO for the rest of the year, our PP results will be magnified that much more to our overall game. I expect some of our defensemen, outside of Souray, to be pinching down more often while on the PP. If Getz is playing high point on the PP, then I hope Bones is not on the ice because he’s another perimeter player with a small body. Put Winnik or Maroon out in front of the crease. Heck, put Allen in front of the crease! (Except, I don’t believe he has the stick handling skills to re-direct pucks into the net. Otherwise, he’d be a power forward instead of a defenseman.) No more “I am a leaf on the wind – watch how I soar,” finesse play… because we all know how that ended. Without Fowler, we need to go gritty and get dirty goals. The type of goals that Perry is most known for.



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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