Barry Trotz says the Capitals are frustrated by the low number of power plays they've been awarded and the way some opponents have gone about drawing penalties this season.
“I despise diving, and our guys know it,” Trotz said. “We don’t try to go down easy. We’re not getting any penalties. …We’ve got to keep our legs moving, which will help. But we’re getting a little bit frustrated because some of the soccer mentality is back in our league a little bit—go down easy.”
A moment later, Trotz cracked: “All of the soccer fans will be happy about that one. …It’s a sell. Some guys sell it better. We’ve got to stay out of the box and draw some more penalties.”
The Caps’ power play unit has been good though 12 games, clicking at a 21.6-percent rate. But Nicklas Backstrom and Co. are just 25th in power play opportunities (37), including a grand total of two over the past two games (none in Edmonton and two in Calgary).
For comparison’s sake, the Wild is dead last (29) and the Blackhawks are first (55). Twenty teams, meantime, have been on the man advantage 42 or more times.
In addition to resisting the urge to dive, Trotz said, the Caps have also been hurt by their own game. As he noted, his players can draw more whistles by possessing the puck more, generating longer shifts in the offensive zone and keeping their feet moving when engaged with opponents—all of which tend to lead to trips, hooks and holds.
“We’ve been pretty good the last couple of years at extending shifts and drawing those 'tired' penalties on teams,” Trotz added. “We haven’t been able to do that as much. That’s partly on us, partly on our game.”
The power play has converted on eight of its 37 opportunities. Backstrom has the most points (7), while T.J. Oshie and Ovechkin are first and second in goals with 4 and 3, respectively.
So it’s going okay. The Caps just need to find a way to get the unit more time on the ice.