I wanted to try out my new video editing software, so I made this video. It shows Chicago doing some quick work on the power play. A clean zone entry, getting into formation quickly, and a shot by Patrick Kane.
Arik Parnass, now of the Colorado Avalanche, did a lot of public special teams work in past seasons. In this article, his findings suggest that teams getting into formation as quickly as possible is a key attribute to a good power play.
He studied six teams and found that when those teams were in their proper formation, usually a 1-3-1, they shot and scored at a higher rate than when they freelance.
Parnass compares special teams formations to that of football. In the NFL for example, Aaron Rodgers sets his team up in a formation and they run a structured play. This is similar to the power play. NHL teams set up in formations like the 1-3-1 and use structure to try to score goals.
I often pay attention to how long it takes for Chicago to get into formation. I’ve noticed many times after a faceoff win, Chicago will freelance for about 30 seconds before getting into formation. Formation would be Panarin on the left dot, Kane on the right dot, Seabrook at the point, Anismov in front of the goalie, and Keith in the high slot. Parnass’ research suggests that the longer it takes for those players to get into their proper formation spot, the less effective the power play will be.
That’s why I point out in the above video how quickly the Blackhawks get into formation after they enter the zone. This is important. Rule 1 is to get the puck in the zone as quickly and effectively as possible. Rule 2 is to then get into formation as quickly as possible.
The next time you watch a Blackhawks game, see how long it takes for them to get into formation during the power play.