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Hawks Can't Get Power Play Right

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Hawks Can't Get Power Play Right

AP

Anaheim Ducks left wing Bobby Ryan (9) and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) vie for the puck in the third period of an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012. The Ducks won 3-1. (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)

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Now that the trade deadline is over, we can glean that Stan Bowman thinks that most of the answers are already in the Blackhawks' dressing room. He's not necessarily wrong in saying so. What he's also saying is that he probably doesn't think the Hawks are being managed properly, and he's 100 percent correct there.

There's no bigger indictment of the Hawks' coaching than the power play. And there was no better example of what's wrong than the difference between the Hawks' PP and the Anaheim Ducks' on Sunday. The Ducks' power play is kind of middle of the road, but a middle of the road power play would have netted the Hawks at least a few more wins this year.

The amount of movement the Ducks had going on their man advantage compared to the Hawks was simply startling. The Ducks ran a high weave up around the blue line.

You don't have to know much about hockey to know what that is. You've all run a weave drill in basketball practice or seen it done; players constantly moving and switching sides, forcing defenders to chase and open up lanes everywhere. They had chance after chance.

Now compare that to the Hawks. Five statues, with the only movement being the useless one of Patrick Sharp slinking down from the point to the back door for a pass that's never open. This forces Patrick Kane to look and see only one open pass, which is back to the point where a shot isn't available. No one wheels to the middle from the corner. No one moves to the slot.

More importantly, penalty killers don't even have to move to shut it down. With the extra space out there, moving the killers is the idea because they can't cover it all. But when they can remain stationary? It's like not having a numerical advantage at all.

Worse yet, that's only if the Hawks can get into the zone. Which most of the time, they can't. For the first time in forever, on the Hawks first power play they had everyone regroup in their zone so that they could hit the offensive blue line with speed. Whether the puck was being carried or dumped in, they had the drop on the penalty kill trying to block off that line.

But of course that stopped. It quickly returned to four guys standing still watching someone bring the puck up to them, stop, and lose it. Teams aren't letting the Hawks carry the puck in. They try to anyway. And when they do decide to just dump it in, they're waiting too long and losing all the momentum to go get it. It's an easy clear.

The problems are so simple, and yet they've persisted for months. That's just stubbornness or cluelessness from the coaches.

Why won't it stop?

Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Blackhawks. You may have seen him hocking the magazine outside the United Center at Gate 3. The program is also available for purchase online. Fels is a lifelong 'Hawks fan and he also writes for Second City Hockey .

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