Back in training camp, Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz clarified that he was taking ownership of the team's power play this season, and despite a great deal of focus on that area, results are still underwhelming. Whether you use old-fashioned PP% (26th), Goals For/60 (26th), or Shots For/60 (27th), the Preds have failed to make progress with the man advantage this season.
What's to be done about this? I'd suggest that Trotz's time-tested meritocratic management philosophy should take hold here. The guys who are earning the opportunity and making the most of it should get more PP ice time, and those who aren't, should see their's trimmed.
That's easier said than done, however. The best analysis we have available says that putting lots of shots on goal is the primary driver of team offensive success (rather than working for the absolute highest-quality shots and passing up lesser chances). So it would seem that if you want to influence future results, put the guys on the ice who drive shots on goal.
But what if, in the short term, the bounces favor the guys who actually do that least, and as a result, they have some of your best point-scoring rates? Consider the following list of Nashville forwards who see regular duty on the power play (data from Behind the Net):
The first three columns (TOI, G/60, Pts/6) are for the individuals, while the last two represent goal-scoring and shooting rates for the entire team while that player is on the ice. So what we're seeing here is that while Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn are on the PP, the Preds put a paltry 30-33 shots/60 on net (the league-wide range at the team level is 73-43, with most teams around 48-49).
What do you do here if you're Barry Trotz? Look at the point totals, assume that SK74 and Erat have discovered some secret sauce on the PP, and load them up on ice time, or trust that the hockey gods have merely smiled on them so far, and hold their power play time hostage to driving more pucks on the net? It's a hard situation for a coach to deal with, when your highest point-getters are actually doing the worst fundamental work.
While you ponder that question, follow after the jump for your morning hockey news...
Your Must-Read Story Of The Day
Tom Walter: Coach, Father, Husband and now a Hero. - Blogger So Dear
This isn't hockey related at all, but it's an incredible story. When a baseball player at Wake Forest needed a new kidney, his head coach stepped up to donate one of his.
For reaction to last night's game head over to... you know what, on second thought, let's just not go there.
Preds On The Glass: Time for the Predators to Regroup and Tuesday Tidbits
Buddy's got a condo available which might cost you an arm and a leg... if you go swimming.
Preds coach rips no-call on Oilers' third goal - The Tennessean
I tend to think that rather than just griping about this game, Trotz's complaint about Edmonton's 3rd goal is about speaking up for his goalie going forward.
Clean slate for Kostitsyn in Nashville - Edmonton Journal
An outside view on how SK74 has gotten a fresh start on his NHL career.
Shea Weber is Not an Option for the Rangers - Blueshirt Banter
John tries to pop the bubble of some speculators in New York.
Around the NHL
Senators for Sale: Mike Fisher - Silver Seven
From the Ottawa point of view, Nashville might not make a good trade partner here.
Thank God For Depth On Defence! - Nucks Misconduct
Keith Ballard goes down with a nasty leg injury for Vancouver, leaving Dan Hamhuis as one of their top-pair D.
Marginal NHL players lack respect - The Globe and Mail
Roy MacGregor argues that once given a shot at the NHL, players at risk of being sent down will do anything to stay up, including intentionally injuring opponents. Curiously, he doesn't provide any examples for what seems like a pretty lame theory.
Matt Cooke: the Dirtiest Player in the NHL - Blueshirt Banter
Now here's a candidate for MacGregor to consider.
How Josh Bailey has improved this year: A statistical look at his defensive performance. - Lighthouse Hockey
Over on the Island, they're wondering if Josh Bailey will develop into the next Frans Nielsen, who some consider to be a strong Selke Trophy candidate as top defensive forward.
The Flames pull it together | The Hockey Writers
Look who's burning up the Western Conference standings...
Peter Forsberg has no-trade clause | All Things Avs
Could the Avalanche trade Forsberg at the deadline? Only if he says so.
Maple Leaf GM Burke meets with Wilson and Kessel - TSN
All of a sudden things are OK, Phil Kessel loves being in Toronto...
Down Goes Brown: Inside Gary Bettman's Super Bowl party
Another DGB classic...
For Some Players, Less (Salary) Is More - PuckUpdate
How often do we hear the criticism of a player tied to his salary? Here in Nashville, that's quite a bit, isn't it?
ESPN: "Byfuglien trade a big Hawks mistake" - Behind The Net
Gabe takes a look behind the headline-grabbing numbers to see whether Dustan Byfuglien really deserves mention as a Norris Trophy candidate.
The League of Extraordinary Statisticians: The Awards - Behind The Net
Should talent or performance carry more weight when deciding the annual NHL awards?
Can we give this Rory Boylen guy at The Hockey News a little help? - Behind The Net
This time Gabe takes a THN writer out to the woodshed.
On Frozen Blog › The Best Friend a Hockey Blogger Could Have
An ode to Nate Ewell, the PR man for the Washington Capitals who has been the point man for their outreach to bloggers. The one time I did have some contact with Nate I was really impressed how he followed up a few days later with extra information when he didn't have to.
Scarlett Ice: This Is Where I'm Coming From
Is asking for a certain number of Twitter followers before donating $10K to a children's hospital an act of charity, or a stunt to grow one's fanbase?