I am not a hockey genius.
In fact, the more I write here the more I want to learn about hockey in order to get better. There is plenty about the game that I don’t know, and so what I have to say here may not make any sense at all. Still, this has bothered me for a long time, and last night was the breaking point: I hate the way the Sabres enter the zone on the power play.
You know what I mean. Those stupid little drop passes in the neutral zone that are somehow supposed to fool the other team. Rather than playing dump and chase or simply establishing possession in the offensive zone, the Sabres have taken to stopping juuuust short of the blue line and putting the puck backwards to another player. It’s clearly by design, and it bothers me to no end.
I’m pretty sure I understand what they are going for, but it’s just not working. I think the intent is to create some sort of Mighty Ducks Flying V scenario, the perfect execution of which would look something like this:
Still, what usually happens is that the blue line looks more like this:
Think about it: the other team’s penalty killers are lining up on the blue line to put pressure on the puck carrier, and you want to put another two or three players in the way for them? Even worse is the fact that those players are now stationary, effectively killing any hopes of recovering a puck that goes to the corner. It seems to severely limit the options the power play has in setting things up, and complicates what should be relatively simple: getting inside the offensive zone on the power play.
Now maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t understand the purpose. Last night the Sabres were 0-2 on the power play, a sample size that is way too small to truly make any assumptions. However, the eyeball test tells me that the entries into the zone are unnecessary and downright stupid. Perhaps I’m missing something, and I’m more than willing to hear reasons why they do that. I’m not one to think I’m smarter than people actually in charge of planning a power play, but to me almost everything about the power play seems counterintuitive .
But maybe I’m wrong. As I said, I am no hockey genius. Anyone have some input on this? I’m willing to hear arguments for sure.