FanPost

How Not to Run a Power Play

As we're all aware, the Avs have been atrociously bad up a man this season, handing out breakaways like free candy and allowing more goals than they get. Because I'm probably a masochist or something, I've decided to take it upon myself to review each game's failures until either Gamecentre stops being free or I lose my will to live after rewatching our shorthanded goals over and over again.

If you've a love affair with despair, come join this exciting magical adventure through the disaster known as our Power Kill. We'll play video coach and figure out who's been awful, it'll be a blast.

Game 1: 10/7 vs Chicago

1. 2nd Period, 6:30: Skille - Hooking
The first power play started off decently enough. Stastny won the draw and Hejduk unleashed a quick snapshot from just ahead of the left faceoff dot. Not much of a scoring chance from that angle, but at least he managed to recover the rebound and swing it to Duchene.

Powerplay1_medium

Here's Duchene with control of the puck and two defenders bearing down on him. With Liles open at the point and Keith leaving Stastny and Hejduk clear as well, he has plenty of time to make a decision and continue the cycle. For some reason, what he does instead is dither around with the puck until he's covered and throw an ill-advised pass that Bolland easily intercepts. Note the two teammates behind him with all the space in the world.

Powerplay2_medium

Liles managed to keep the puck from reaching a streaking Pisani (insert your own joke here) and the Avs regrouped to start a new rush. Stewart charged in behind the net and got the puck to Duchene, who managed to pass to Liles this time despite a challenge by Pisani. JML walked in with a nice slapshot that reached Turco and had SoS and the Duke crashing the net searching for a rebound that Pisani would manage to clear. This rush was at least competent, generating the PP's only real scoring chance. Unfortunately it was all downhill from there.

Duchene collected a pass from Anderson and handed it off to Stewart for entry, who sent the puck around the boards to Stastny on the other side. A back pass to Hejduk bore no fruit as Toews easily stripped him of the puck, sending it to Pisani to clear.

Quincey retrieved the puck in the Avs zone and  passed it somewhere between Jones and Winnik. Jones couldn't handle a stick check from Seabrook and the puck slipped out to between Cumiskey (left) and Yip (right). You'd expect them to have no problem regaining that loose puck, but then you remember they're on the power play.

Powerplay3_medium 
Cumiskey takes it but is apparently distracted by Sharp's dreamy face, runs right into him, and gets spun around like a top. Yip recovers and retreats, with Sharp hot on his tail. 

Powerplay4_medium 
You don't often see Yip outworked, but Sharp outraces him, wins the puck, and embarks on the first of many shorthanded breakaways against the Avs this year. Luckily Anderson's pads were up to the challenge, snuffing out Sharp's shot and his face as well.

Powerplay5_medium
Jones was next to lead the rush, but a Nick Leddy poke-check allowed Hossa to immediately clear. Quincey coasted to the puck and soon paid for it when Bolland muscled him off it.

Powerplay6_medium

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Cumiskey would recover the puck before the Hawks managed a shot, but it shaved precious seconds off the power play and just looked really terrible. Galiardi led the Avs' final rush and swung it behind the net for Cumiskey, whose feeble pass to Jones was easily picked off by Hjalmarsson and cleared out when Foote bobbled the puck at the line. With only five seconds remaining in Skille's penalty, he was out by the time the Avs re-entered the offensive zone.

So that was pretty painful to relive, and there are lots more to go! Oh joy. The Avs made poor decisions and gave up the better chance despite the man advantage, setting the theme for the season so far. We may even have been lucky not to have allowed a penalty shot - Yip's stick looked a bit suspect hovering around Sharp's ankles when he fell. 

It's easy to say the power play is hurting due to Mueller's concussion, but you need to be able to set up in the first place to get off a point shot. The effort level was embarrassing; I'm pretty certain I put far more into this than the Avs exerted for the whole two minutes.

+0.5 to Stewart and Liles for creating chances on offense without fucking up.
-1 for Duchene, Cumiskey, Yip, and Quincey.

2. 2nd Period, 13:45: Seabrook - Tripping
Stastny won another draw, sending the puck to Liles at the point. Despite some confusion between him and Hejduk, he launched a shot on net that ended up popping out to SoS in the slot. With a quick shot, he uhh, 'dribbled one between Turco' according to the VS announcers and the man advantage ended 6 seconds in.

The quick goal was very nice to see, and despite the luck factors of the puck going right to Stastny, Turco being caught off-guard, and the puck only barely making it through, it could be attributed just as much to Stastny's positioning, accurate shot, and fantastic vision. No complaints here at all.

+1 to Stastny for what I just typed above, plus the key faceoff win.

3. 2nd Period, 14:05: Scott - High-Sticking

Stastny won his third PP faceoff of the night, sending it past the blueline between Hejduk and Liles, who retreated back to the Avs zone shadowed by Bolland. Liles fell over, leading to a shot by Pisani that sailed way wide.
Powerplay8_medium

After pledging never to ask himself What Would Tucker Do again, Liles raced over to pick up the loose puck, enabling a nice tic-tac-toe play between Duchene, Stastny, and Duchene again that ended when Pisani took him into the boards and the Hawks cleared. Also just for the record, I think Liles' hair looks fine long. There was a close-up on him and he looked as dreamy as ever.

Aaaaanyways, Stastny had some trouble in his next zone entry so Liles came over and dumped the puck in right to Keith, who cleared it again. Duchene took the next try and was soon surrounded by three Hawks but still managed to make his pass - at least he learns quick. Liles got another shot on Turco, resulting in a huge rebound that glided harmlessly past the gaping net as Duchene couldn't reach it in time. #9's wraparound attempt was a good try, but wound up cleared nonetheless.
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Stewart led the next rush, but his saucer pass was batted out of the air by Keith, who sent it out again. Anderson opted not to trust Quincey this time and played it himself, airmailing it halfway down the rink to Galiardi. With a burst of speed, Bloodbeard raced into the slot and blasted the puck off the crossbar. The Avs got the rebound, but eventually a hand pass was whistled and the Hawks won the ensuing faceoff, essentially bringing an end to what managed to not be an abysmal power play.

The lack of production here was on account of the Hawks' strong penalty-killing rather than any mistakes the Avs made - the only one was Liles taking a tumble early and he more than made up for it with quality play afterwards. Sacco must have really reamed into the team after the first one, because the difference between them was like night and day. Too bad the message didn't carry over into the next game.

+1 to Galiardi for his blazing quick zone entry and near goal.
+0.5 to Liles for doing everything well, other than that tricky skating thing.



Cor, this was actually a lot of work. What the hell was I thinking? Oh well. Hopefully if you've read this far it wasn't a complete waste of your time, and hopefully I'll get through the Philly game without giving up or it'll be kind of embarrassing.

MileHighHockey.com is a fan community, allowing members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Colorado Avalanche and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editors of MileHighHockey.com.

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