Alex Ovechkin is on pace for 50 goals and 100 points, which is okay, I guess, but look at his power-play numbers! He hasn’t scored a single PPG this season, much to the dismay of Ron McLean, who labeled Ovechkin a “specialty act” back when it was fashionable and easy to trash the league’s best player.
Over coffee this morning I asked myself if the Caps’ power play and Alex Ovechkin’s role specifically are in turmoil. The answer may surprise you. Unless you read the headline, in which case nevermind.
Alex Ovechkin’s last regular-season power-play goal came on April 11, the final game of the 82, against the Rangers. It was assisted by PPQB John Carlson and dude-on-the-half-wall Nick Backstrom. It looked like this.
If you didn’t hit play on that video, you could probably accurately picture the goal in your head. It was an Ovi Shot from the Ovi Spot (patent pending). It was also the last of its kind for months and months and months untold.
I want to know if the Caps power play is performing better or worse than the Caps power play at the time of that goal.
|Dates||3/17 – 4/23||10/14 – 11/07||More political ads on TV|
I used some powderpuff pink to note that the most important stat, goals, is the same in the two windows: the Caps scored six times in each ten-game window. Everything is pretty similar: the Caps’ shot-attempt production decreased by 15.3 unblocked shot attempts per 60 minutes, but the shots-on-goal rate increased by a handful. There’s only a difference of two minutes and three opportunities between the two windows, but in both time frames the Caps generated 31 scoring chances.
I’d venture the differences up there are mostly statistical noise, and there’s no remarkable quantified change in the Caps PP between then and now– at least not one that’s evident in these numbers …yet.
Now I’ll turn it over to Ovi’s individual stats.
|Ovi Time on Ice||30.5||39.7||+30%|
There’s been an alarming decrease in Ovechkin’s shot-attempt generation, both overall, unblocked, and on goal, but that’s not enough information to draw a conclusion without context.
Like, if Ovi had been shooting at the same percentage as last year he’d have two power-play goals by now and no one would have batted an eye.
But the most interesting change to me is Ovi’s power-play ice time. At 93 percent of the team’s total, Ovi’s playing virtually every second of the power play. That’s got me wondering if Ovi is “gripping the stick too tight.” Perhaps he’s being asked to do too much on the PP, or maybe Blaine Forsythe is two-point-five shifting him instead of the usual double-shifting. Maybe Ovi is staying out too long when he should be making a strategic retreat. I don’t know.
It’s also possible he’s being used more often — and more effectively, I should note — as a feint to create more scoring chances for other players. After all, the Caps overall are about as deadly on the PP now as they were then.
More ice time, and lower-quality ice time could go a long way to explaining Ovechkin’s drop-off in special-teams production. Then again, so would this:
You know what's frustrating? This. pic.twitter.com/aEOlfP6Dbb
— Sick, Unbelievable (@sickunbelievabl) November 6, 2015
Long story short: Ovi’s gonna score two power-play goals tonight. Take it to #thebank.
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