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09-17-2009, 08:04 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
It is a good question.
A very noted former NHL player who was part of some of the best pp units in the game once told me: "It is the speed of the pass that scores the goal."
If you have the proper handedness (which creates the proper angles) you can move the puck quickly. Shifting the puck from your backhand to your forehand takes a split second, but sometimes a split second is all you have and the chance is gone.
Ideally you would like to two of the same and one different down low (ie. two righties and a lefty or two lefties and a righty) and then a right shot at the right point and a left shot at the left point.
If you are that way at the top with your dmen they are in their natural position and can easily use the width of the ice. It is also easier to make forehand to forehand passes across the blue line, then having one guy having to make a backhand pass across it. It also helps them take it off the wall off their forehand.
You see the players switch on the ice during play (the righty goes to the left side and vise versa) when they are facing a pk unit that isn't very aggressive at the top and they go into one-timer mode. In doing that they now can pass it straight to the guys' stick instead of across his body.
Down low, you want 2 of the same and one different so as to optimize the angles to enhance the speed of the passing and allow for the one timer.
The jackets, for example with all of their left handed shots, always needed to shift their body position in order to get the puck on their forehand.
Picture RJ at the net with his butt in Osgood's face and Nash with the puck on his LH stick on the goal line. If RJ gets the puck quickly, it is on RJ's backhand and if he wants to go forehand, he has to shift which, by the time you do that, the checkers are on you. If RJ was a right shot, the puck is on his forehand and all he has to do is sweep it into the net.
Having a right handed player not only at the top, but down low helps teams a great deal. Here is an example of a nearly ideal setup on the pp: Timonen at the top (LH), Richards at the top (LH), Prospal (LH) on the half wall switching with Briere (RH) and Knuble in the slot (LH).
Although it isn't the scenerio that I described above, if you stop it at the 1:34 mark, it shows two guys: Briere and Richards at the net, both on their forehand ready to pop in the rebound, which is exactly what Briere did. If Briere is a LH shot there, perhaps he doesn't get that puck cleanly on his backhand or a checker gets to him by the time he shifts and/or transfers it to his forehand.
I believe their second unit (pre Lupul trade) had a similar ideal setup down low. It is not surprising that they had one of the best pp's in the league. Having a quality ppqb like Timonen, and guys who have actually played on the pp in their career doesn't hurt either.
Last edited by hashmarks: 09-17-2009 at
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