Fixing the Admirals Power Play, Three Solutions

Through 42 games the Milwaukee Admirals sit in the second spot in the Western Conference, having accumulated 24 wins and 54 points.  Therefore all is well in Milwaukee, right?  When the Admirals skate five aside life is good, but the special teams remain a glaring issue as Milwaukee currently owns a seven goal deficit during special teams play.

“Five-on-five were pretty good, (but) its an ongoing process to try to get our special teams better,” Admirals coach Lane Lambert said. “We have to look at both the power play and the penalty kill.”

Lets start with the power play, which sits in 19th place in the AHL.  Milwaukee is effective 15.8% of the time, scoring 27 goals on 171 chances while allowing six shorthanded goals against.

What can the Admirals do to improve the power play?

“I think we just need to keep working on it,” Milwaukee defenseman Scott Ford said.  “We don’t a lot of guys other than Linus Klasen and Chris Mueller, who is up with Nashville, that put up big offensive numbers so we have to score by committee on the power play.  If we do the right things, the puck will start finding the back of the net.”

Here are my three solutions to improve the power play:

1) More movement out of everyone on the power play.  Whenever a power play goes south scoring-wise, this is usually the number one culprit.  All players on Milwaukee need to move their feet more to create more shooting and passing lanes.  More open lanes means more shots on goal and more scoring opportunities.

2) Stop watching Linus Klasen.  With a player like Linus Klasen out on the power play, it is easy to get caught watching him and not moving to get open for him.  Klasen is an amazing special teams weapon, but he needs help.  Klasen can draw opposing defenses to him creating openings for other options.

3) Blast more point shots.  The Admirals best weapon is the talent of their defensemen, and Roman Josi, Aaron Johnson, Jonathon Blum and Teemu Laakso are all potential scoring weapons.  By moving more on the power play, shooting lanes for the points open up, creating opportunities for Milwaukee’s garbage goal hunters to find rebounds and tips around the net.  Another way to create offense from the point is to have a good cycle down low that pulls the opposing defense lower in the zone, opening up plays and shots from up high.

Next week…I will tackle the Penalty Kill.  Stay tuned.

So Roundtable, What are your Power Play Solutions?

7 thoughts on “Fixing the Admirals Power Play, Three Solutions”

  1. Try different schemes. Put two guys in front of the net and form some sort of triangle around the perimeter. Let guys like Klassen, Blum, Josi handle the puck around the perimeter, constantly moving around. Get open shooting lanes, blast shots and let the two guys in front work for a rebound/tip-in/redirection/etc.

    Run a Chicago-style backdoor PP. We need pin-point passing accuracy for this to work though. Post a guy at the corner of the net, draw the defense to the opposite side of the ice, make a quick pass to the guy camping on the side of the net and let him slap it in, bing-bang-boom.

    Constant puck movement. Don’t let a guy hold the puck for more than a few seconds. Eventually a defender will make a mistep and we’ll have an open shot. Crash the net for rebounds.

  2. Well said Creed.
    I like the constant puck movement more than the other two options. The back door is effective when not overused (aka, once opposing teams figure it out it is easy to defend). The Wisconsin Badgers run this play to death, works against a bad team, doesn’t against good teams.
    I see that option and your first choice as decent go-to in play options. Work the perimeter, then employ two players to the front, or set up the back door. But the problem with two stationary forwards in front is that you can almost totally defend that with one agile defenseman if your players are standing around.
    However, I love a constant movement power play. It can be risky, but it seems like it might be the Admirals best option utilizing three talented players up high. Klasen, Blum, Johnson and Josi would all seem like solid options for this play. If employed, it requires patience. If fans start yelling shoot, players can’t listen. Fast passes, wait for a mistake, then pounce when it happens.

  3. Also note by saying place two forwards in front of the net, I don’t necessarily mean plant them in front with no movement. They can rotate, move towards the boards, etc…. just that their ultimate positioning needs to have them navigate towards the net constantly. Oftentimes we see a guy move towards the net, but then backtracks elsewhere and doesn’t return. We need to have at least one guy positioned somewhere near the net at all times, and move a second in and out, possibly to confuse, cause open passing lanes, etc.

    And also agreed about the backdoor play. I personally don’t like the backdoor play all that much. As you said, more often than not, once a team figures out that’s what is going to happen, they’ll easily transition and defend against it. That play really works well only if you have a highly skilled power play – like a line with a Krog and Haydar – guys who can make crisp, clean stick to stick passes through tight traffic.

  4. The one big plus to an overload the net play is that it allows more interchangeable parts on the power play. What Milwaukee lacks in skill on offense, it makes up for with gritty forwards who can skate. Here’s where a healthy Steve Begin really helps. He can be guy who can open up low if need be and crash the net when the play is up high. Others on the Admirals can fill that same role. That would be again a way to utilize the team’s strength on the power play, which is Klasen and the blueliners.

  5. If tootoo comes back this season, is there any chance he could come back down to Milwaukee for conditioning or something? I have no clue how that works…any info would be appreciated.

  6. Most likely no.

    Regarding the power play… it seems that we think that if we get on the power play we have to slow the pace of the game down for some reason. When we slow the game down we are prone to mistakes. Why not keep the same pace that we play at when it’s 5×5? We dominated in the first period 5×5.

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