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Sunday thoughts: Power play allowing goals, Hornqvist, Snoop and more

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Dive into your Sunday with some thoughts about the Penguins power play allowing too many goals and a couple of Patric Hornqvist thoughts

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Los Angeles Kings Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Short handed goals allowed troubling

By virtue of allowing two goals in the last two games while they were on the power play, the Penguins took over first place in the league in an ignominious category with 10 total short handed goals allowed.

It seems like these things coming in bunches against the Pens, then they pay attention and iron out the details for a while, but then it pops up again the the coach has to get on them. That’s definitely happening

“It can’t happen,” Mike Sullivan said. “It just can’t happen. We’ve got to have more diligence. We’re not heeding the lessons. We have to start.”

“It’s a lack of diligence in important parts of the rink. Even though we’re on the power play we have to have some conscience defensively, and it starts with our own puck possession.”

It hasn’t been there lately, Friday night Evgeni Malkin gave the puck away for a breakaway against that Matt Murray was hung out to dry on. Saturday night Kris Letang made an ill-advised pass that was picked off and taken on a 2-on-1 against.

One other observations: the other highest teams with SHGA this season (Boston and Florida) also are at 25% power play success rates. For as annoying as it is, at least there seems to be some level of high reward to go along with the mistakes.

Fans and coaches will gripe, but not really sure there’s much of an adjustment or magic fix. The personnel isn’t and won’t and shouldn’t change. The stars have to be more sharp with their decisions or their power plays will do more harm than good.

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Sticking with the power play

It’s long been known that net-front forward Patric Hornqvist is really the “straw that stirs the drink” for the Pens’ power play. AT&T Sportsnet had this great stat, as so half-heartedly captured on a smudged phone camera by your trusty blog editor that won’t format right-side up so I’ll type it out.

Pens’ Power play with, without Hornqvist

Season With Hornqvist W/out Hornqvist
Season With Hornqvist W/out Hornqvist
2016-17 23.9% 18.4%
2017-18 27.9% 12.9%
2018-19 28.3% 13.6%

With two PPG in the last two games, Jake Guentzel just might score Pittsburgh out of the Hornqvist-funk on his own, but overall not having HQ72 has always been a huge obstacle and hindrance for Pittsburgh’s man-advantage. As if they needed any further troubles now that they’re giving up goals.

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And On Patric Hornqvist

After suffering a concussion in Tuesday night’s game against Florida, forward Patric Hornqvist was only off of his skates for a couple of days. The Pens reported that Hornqvist (who didn’t make the west coast trip with the team) has been active.

This is very similar to the concussion Hornqvist suffered earlier in the season. He was hurt on November 23rd, almost immediately active again and returned to the game lineup just eight days after injury on December 1st.

It goes without saying that all head injuries are different, recoveries are different and that’s important to keep in mind. Given that Hornqvist is able to advance to the physical activity of skating after his concussions we can assume that outward effects and symptoms are not lasting very long for him in order to get the clearance to resume training a bit.

“It’s always the same way,” Hornqvist said last month when he returned from his last concussion. “I feel out of it for a few days and then come right back at it. I’m not worried about that.”

But it’s tough not to worry about a player with four documented concussions since the start of the 2016-17 season, with two suffered in less than a two month span.

Timing-wise, there could be an extended break for Hornqvist. Pittsburgh plays three games out west this week and then gets eight days off for their bye week and the All-Star break and don’t play until January 28th. When a player gets a concussion obviously they have to be given all the time they need, but the schedule is going to give Hornqvist at least three weeks off barring him flying out and joining the team.

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Snoop was lit

Snoop Dogg lent some electricity and fun to the game last night and the league went a bit viral on social media because of it.

Good times. The NHL needs more exposure and attention and anytime they can bring in stars who like sports to give some shine to hockey that’s always a good thing.