Thursday, December 23, 2021

Chatting Checkers with TJ Chillot (Checkers Broadcaster), NHL Spurns Olympics - Episode 50

Listen to "Chatting Checkers with TJ Chillot (Checkers Broadcaster), NHL Spurns Olympics - Episode 50" on Spreaker.

Director of Broadcasting for the Charlotte Checkers TJ Chillot guests with us this week to talk about the development of a number of Panthers prospects in Charlotte, the 11-1 win against Rochester, and the COVID craziness of last week.

Follow TJ Chillot on Twitter

After that we unfold the ramifications of the COVID surge across the NHL and the decision to withdraw from the Beijing Olympics, talk about the recent struggles in net, and wish everyone a happy holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Youtube Collab w/ Metalpanthers: Covid, Your Questions, and More (Special)

Listen to "Youtube Collab w/ Metalpanthers: Covid, Your Questions, and More (Special)" on Spreaker.

Youtuber Metalpanthers joins TJ for a rare collaboration on the level of Numb/Encore to talk the Panthers' COVID-19 outbreak ahead of the LAK game, and to answer all your mailbag questions.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Panthers Film Room: New Looks on PP1 Drive Success

 It's no secret that Florida's powerplay has had challenges in the 2021-22 season; those struggles are one of few factors holding Florida back from separating themselves entirely at the top of the standings. From after the Panthers' contest against Carolina on November 6th up until their matchup against Washington on November 30th, the team was 31/32 in several 5v4 powerplay stats, even managing a -1 goal differential with a single man advantage. The team only managed 1 powerplay goal in that stretch and allowed 2 shorthanded goals. 

Here, we can see the Panthers setting up on the powerplay vs the New York Rangers on November 8. Their 1-3-1 formation is more or less typical in today's NHL, with the QB, shooter, playmaker, netfront, and bumper all in their expected spots. Aaron Ekblad features as the quarterback, as he had all season. 

Jonathan Huberdeau is the featured passer on this powerplay, and conventional wisdom suggest playing him on his strong side, to keep the puck away from pursuing penalty killers allowing more time to complete a pass. In order to feature a shooter on their offside, the Panthers need to put a left-hander in the right-hang circle, opposite Huberdeau in the middle 3 players.

Teams want to allow their shooters to fire away from their off-side, as this allows them to position their body further from the net but the puck closer to it, in order to improve the angle they see the net. Barkov is used in that role in this game. This was the look the struggling Panthers PP usually went with in this timeframe, with Sams Bennett and Reinhart switching time as bumper, sometimes switching with Patric Hörnqvist to netfront. 

As Barkov exited the lineup with injury, Anthony Duclair took his same place on the powerplay. No other changes. This look struggled with either player.

Duclair first became unavailable in the Panthers' game against Washington on November 26, where the Panthers show a new look. Suddenly, Huberdeau is on the right side of the formation, with Sam Reinhart in the left hand circle. 

In their game on November 27th, Hornqvist exits the formation, but this time, Tippett is the one that enters on the first powerplay. Here, we see Tippett on his off-side (left) half-wall, about to feed a royal road pass to Bennett with time and space to shoot. This was the Panthers' only power play opportunity of the game.

In storming back from a 4-1 deficit against Washington on November 30th, the Panthers tallied two late powerplay goals to complete the comeback. Huberdeau's presence on the right looms large on both successes. 

Here, Huberdeau is able to position his stick to form a passing triangle with Ekblad and bumper-man Reinhart, and the quick puck movement sends the defense into a spiral, opening up a shooting lane for Ekblad. His shot found Bennett's stick in front, which tipped the puck in. This is a very significant goal to tie the game, and only the Panthers' second 5v4 success in the last 24 days. They would pick up 2 more 5v4 goals in a 3 day span. 

I need not show a highlight of the Sam Reinhart powerplay goal that followed in this game, as I'm sure reader remembers it well. The right-handed Reinhart, parked on the left half-wall, took a cross-ice feed from Huberdeau and quickly snapped it past Samsonov.

In Florida's first powerplay opportunity against Buffalo, Huberdeau remains on the right, with Reinhart in the bumper spot, Tippett on the left. A quick exchange from Reinhart and Huberdeau opens a lane for a cross-ice feed to Bennett, who has drifted to the left and has a wide open net. This is where the importance of having a shooter on their off-side becomes apparent. With more time needed to received the puck to his left, Bennett gives the defense valuable nanoseconds to adjust and challenge his shot. It ends up going wide and the Panthers waste a glorious opportunity. 

The Panthers crucially cash in on their third powerplay, where they radically altered their formation. Mackenzie Weegar suddenly emerges as the quarterback, with Ekblad moved over to the left-half wall. Ekblad is right-handed, so this is his off-side. This was a spot from which he had plenty of success in the 2020-21 season on the powerplay, and eventually, it's the spot from which he'll score.