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Chicago Blackhawks’ Powerplay Continues To Be Big Concern

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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 05: Ryan Hartman
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 05: Ryan Hartman /
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The Chicago Blackhawks have managed to compile a nice win-loss record to start the new season.  But one statistic that is not so nice is their scoring on the powerplay.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ lack of scoring on the powerplay has been the hot topic among local media this week.  With a paltry 4-of-27 success rate, the ‘Hawks currently rank 21st in the NHL.  A roster blessed with high-end skill should boast a better record than that.

There has been talk about changing the personnel on the powerplay units. From the Daily Herald’s John Dietz:

If a change in personnel means more movement, then this is great.  There has been a lot of standing around while the puck handler looks for the perfect pass.  Obviously, the key to a successful powerplay is the movement to free up passing and shooting lanes.

So, will changing personnel be the answer, or should the ‘Hawks be looking at their powerplay systems?  Perhaps some tweaks to the systems they are using could be in order.  Here are the popular systems being used around the league today.

The overload

The overload is a popular tactic to set up on one side of the offensive zone to create 2-on-1 dilemmas for the defenders.  Here is a great tutorial on this system by Jeremy Weiss.

Blackhawks director of player evaluation Barry Smith also extolled the virtues of the overload in this video.  Notice the comment, “YOU MUST HAVE MOVEMENT.”

The umbrella

The umbrella spreads out the offense to create coverage dilemmas for the defenders.  This structure works well with heavy shooters at the blue line.  Here, Jeremy Weiss explains this system.

The hybrid overload/umbrella

This system transitions from an overload set up to the umbrella, giving defenders two looks to consider.  This makes it difficult for the defense to get into its set formation.  Again, Jeremy Weiss explains how this popular system works.

The 1-3-1 overload

In this structure, numerous triangle formations are made available to give the offense the most chances at creating an open shooter.  In my opinion, this is the most fun system to watch.  Here is a tutorial video on this exciting system.

To see this in real life, let’s watch the Washington Capitals in action.  Notice their adherence to the structure and how quickly they get set.  I can watch this all day.

So there you have a quick look at the prevalent powerplay systems.  There is a lot to consider with correct stick-handedness, skating ability, size and decision making.

Do you recognize what systems the ‘Hawks are using?  What is your favorite system? Should the ‘Hawks be proficient with different systems depending on the opponent?  Who do you think should be plugged into the positions?

Next: Knights, Blackhawks Among Power Rankings' Top 5

Also, is the chronic trouble with the Blackhawks’ powerplay due to the players or the coaching staff?  Let’s get a discussion rolling with some ideas and maybe we can have some fun with this.

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