Thursday, December 02, 2010

Newell Brown is Smarter Than You

Despite its excellence, the questions regarding Newell Brown's powerplay have yet to subside. Brown has come under criticism for his choice to move Ryan Kesler from the second unit powerplay to the first, a decision that has left the second unit without much of a cohesive identity or a threatening presence. It's been clear to fans and media that the Canucks' second powerplay formation is not awesome. What may not be clear is that Newell Brown and the rest of the coaching staff couldn't care less.

Brown knew what he was doing when he overloaded that first unit; in reality, moving Kesler was a stroke of genius. The Sedins, Kesler, Edler, and Ehrhoff were last season's five top powerplay producers, netting 116 of the Canucks' 198 total points a man up. But the interesting thing is that Ryan Kesler was playing on a completely separate unit from the other four. Despite that, Kesler led the team last year with 12 powerplay goals, and he only had one less powerplay point (26) than Art Ross winner Henrik (27). He wasn't just good; you could argue he was Canucks' best player with the man advantage. That makes whatever unit he's on the top powerplay unit. Rather than consider him the promoted player, consider the other four promoted to play with him.

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