Mailbag #24: The Power Play, In Particular

RALEIGH, NC. – Happy Friday, Caniacs.

The team started the day today with a full team practice at PNC Arena, getting right back to work after a difficult night on Thursday against Detroit.

After the skate it was straight to Raleigh-Durham International, hopping aboard the team plane to head west for the final time this regular season. A monstrous Saturday night matchup against Colorado awaits and then the Canes will visit Gila River Arena in Glendale for the final time to take on the Coyotes Monday night.

With that being said, let’s get to the questions you all were kind enough to ask.

What’s more important in the last few games of the season – ramping up to playoff intensity or resting key players to maximize health? – @Eric_VonHaam

Tremendous question, Eric.

If you consider us already in the last few games of the season, which, with now just seven to go, I think that seems fair, then the answer right now is getting all the team’s ducks in order before they start resting guys. At least that’s my view.

For example, the power play needs work and no one’s been shy about saying that. So, for example, I don’t foresee sitting any of the ten guys that are on the man advantage units until that’s clicking.

We’ve already kind of a seen a three-man rotation (Ian Cole, Brendan Smith and Ethan Bear) for the final two defensive spots, allowing one to get a night off there and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Health is wealth, as your question insinuates.

With all of that being considered, let’s not forget to be grateful that the team has been of pretty decent health as of late. With Kotkaniemi back in the mix, the Canes are in a much better spot than some of the other teams around the league right now.

What do the Canes need to improve upon, in your view, to have a successful 2022 playoff run? – @dabrams2021

As listed above, the power play is item number one.

Time and time again we’ve heard guys say that your special teams have to be clicking going into postseason play because games are so tight, one power play or penalty kill can make all the difference.

Since March 1 the Canes power play ranks 27th in the league, converting on just 15.0% of their tries. Since the month of April started? 0-for-17.

They’d been in the top ten in the league for most of the season, so they know the talent and potential is there, they just have to find a way to get back to it.

I feel like its gotta be asked but should we expect a drastic restructure of the power play units going into the playoffs? – @Tom_Hannigan237

It’s been asked, but the answer appears to be no.

Not that my opinion matters, but I believe that’s the correct answer, too.

It takes time for things to come together, so starting from scratch this late in the season, after they’ve had 74 games to try different things, is not the play. For example, look at Max Domi. It’s taking him time to figure out both the system and his responsibilities alike, and he’s had 12 games. Putting the power play personnel in a blender with just a handful to go would be an interesting choice.

What issues do you believe has been plaguing our power play since it has been struggling as of late in key moments? – iOppy

Rod Brind’Amour has said that it’s been the execution.

There’s a plan, the guys just have to make it happen.

The way we once saw them whipping the puck around with pace just hasn’t existed lately. Remember the way it would get zipped around the outside and then to Aho in the slot for a one-time chance? Not there. But, it’s not all to the fault of the team. Most teams have a book on what a power play is trying to do this time of year, so it gets easier to pre-scout and defend against.

There are modifications that can be made and those slight tweaks are what could lead to fruition.

Important question: Why are Aho and Teräväinen not on the same line? What happened to the beloved SAT line? – @StormWasTaken20

Fear not, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of it.

If you’ve followed along for most of the season, or last season, you know that it’s always an option; sometimes they just have to spread the wealth of talent around.


Not a member of Twitter? We’re always happy to take questions at news@carolinahurricanes.com as well!

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