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Small details create a successful power play

This is an excerpt from Hockey Plays and Strategies-2nd Edition by Mike Johnston & Ryan Walter.

When developing and monitoring the power play, coaches should remember that small details create a successful power play.

  • Outwork the penalty-killing unit. The tendency of players on the power play is to rest in their manpower advantage. Strong discipline and intense practice is needed to train your power play to outwork their penalty-kill opponents.
  • Encourage your team to gain momentum by getting scoring chances and shots. At all levels the best power-play units score on only 2 out of every 10 power plays, but your team should create momentum on every power play.
  • Players should look confident and never show dejection or defeat. Body language is important in sport. Your team should not give any signs that they don't think they can score. They should leave the ice with the attitude that they didn't score this time but will definitely score next time.
  • Have two units with two looks. Confuse the other team's penalty-killing units by having a different setup for each of your units.
  • Win the draw! Face-offs are key on special teams. If the other team clears the puck, the power-play unit will need 15 to 20 seconds to get set up again in the zone.
  • Try to give other players on your team an opportunity to go on the power play—doing this will do wonders for their confidence. Make sure in practice that all players work on power-play skills.