Flames power play: FAIL

Obviously self evident, since the Flames man advantage has managed to score once in the last 13 games. There's some bad luck in there, of course, but let's face it: Calgary's power play is objectively awful. It doesn't generate shots or chances at even anything above a mediocre rate. They have problems entering the zone and, when there, can't seem to do much beyond pass the puck around the periphery.

Corsi is typically a metric we apply to ES play because the differential technically becomes meaningless on special teams. Still, behind the net tracks corsi on the PP as well, and looking at the numbers gives us an idea of what teams are doing in terms of possession 5on4. Let's compare the two clubs.

First CHI:

Brouwer, Seabrook > +100

Toews, Barker > +90

Bolland, Sharp > +85

Havlat, Kane > +75

CGY:

Jokinen > +90

Leopold, Cammalleri > +85

Iginla > +75

Phaneuf  > +70

Others (Langkow, Bertuzzi) < 60+

All the caveats associated with small samples apply here, obviously, but I think the above gives us an idea of the contrasting trends between the two PP's. Only one of the Flames principles hovers above +90/60 with the man advantage (Jokinen) versus four Hawks (Brouwer, Seabrook, Toews barker). Neither team has scored a bunch with the man advantage, but Chicago's PP has frequently looked more dangerous to me. I think this backs that up.

So what are the problems? Surely there's something systemic causing a team with the likes of Iginla, Jokinen, Phaneuf and Cammalleri to stink a man up? I'll list some of the things I've noticed, but feel free to throw in your own observations in the comments:

- Entry into the zone. One of the primary concerns, I think. Calgary gets stopped in the neutral zone and the offensive blueline a lot. And when they do manage to shoot it in, puck retrieval is spotty at best. It's no fluke that the Flames one PP goal in the last 50 odd chances came off a won face-off. 

- Winning possession in the zone. The Flames have been fairly good at puck battles and down low possession at ES during the season. That all seems to evaporate on the PP however. Lots of bobbled pucks and give-aways whenever they're a man up. Im looking at you, Jarome. And Bertuzzi (+49/60) of course.

- Static positioning, periphery passing. Also - a general lack of net presence. 

I also took a gander at Keenan's personnel choices on the PP thus far and compared the list to a ranked ordering of the Flames PP producers during the regular season. First, the former:

Jarome Iginla - 10:12
Olli Jokinen - 08:31
Mike Cammalleri - 08:20
Todd Bertuzzi - 06:17
Daymond Langkow - 05:02
David Moss - 03:51
Rene Bourque - 02:03
Craig Conroy - 00:39
Curtis Glencross - 00:37

(I left out defensemen. Obviously Keenan doesn't have a lot of choice when it comes to defenders on the PP).

Now, the latter:


Mike Cammalleri - 5.97 PP/60
Curtis Glencross - 5.68 PPP/60
David Moss - 4.5 PPP/60
Jarome Iginla - 4.39 PPP/60
Olli Jokinen - 3.93 PPP/60
Todd Bertuzzi - 3.7 PPP/60
Daymond Langkow - 3.37 PPP/60
Rene Bourque - 1.02 PPP/60
 Craig Conroy - 0

See the discrepancy? Two of the Flames top 5 PP producers in terms of efficiency during the regular season are in the Flames bottom 4 in terms of PP ice in the play-offs. Glencross' rate from the RS is likely inflated because he didn't play much then either, but the guy was 4th on the team in ESP/60 during the year (2.33) and is top two thus far in the post season by the same metric. Dude deserves some more time at 5on4, especially since the alternatives don't seem to be working. To say nothing of Moss, who had a better PP rate than Jarome during the season and is leading the club in goal scoring in the play-offs. To put it another way: what could it possibly hurt? The PP stinks as is.

Also - none of the Flames defensemen scored at any kind of rate 5on4 this season. Dion operated at a sub 3 PPP/60 rate while Aucoin and Leopold were down around 1. That suggests to me the club should go with 4 forwards on the first unit, perhaps with Jokinen or Cammalleri on the point where both have done well with prior teams in the past. While that opens Calgary up to potential SHG goals against, it's not like the team was any good at deterring those with two defensemen on the blueline during the RS anyways.

First unit:

Moss - Cammalleri - Iginla

Phaneuf - Jokinen

Second unit:

Glencross - Langkow - Bertuzzi/Bourque

Leopold - Aucoin

Alternatively, Keenan could just play the Conroy unit (Glencross - Conroy - Moss) on the second half of the PP. That avoids potential line mixing/matching problems which can arise from splicing combinations together. Either way, I'd like to see Keenan give Glencross and Moss more ice time on the man advantage. I don't know if they can overcome some of the systemic issues we've observed over the last couple weeks, but it sure as hell is worth a try at this point.

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