Blackhawks currently experimenting with 5-forward power play unit


DALLAS — The Blackhawks recently attempted a 5-forward placement in their top power-play unit for the first time in recent memory.

Forward Philip Krashev becomes the fifth player in the group, joining Patrick Kane, Max Domi, Jonathan Towes and Taylor Radish. Krashev may have slightly more defensive responsibilities than the rest of his four, but he’s still there primarily to increase the threat level on offense.

“If you play strong at the top early in the power play and don’t take risks. [by attempting seam passes] Too much…don’t worry,” coach Luke Richardson said.

The five forwards are interchangeable per position, allowing the Hawks to establish more continuous player movement in addition to puck movement, eventually dispersing to open up opponent penalty kills. However, there is a clear risk factor when ‘PK’ creates a counterattack.

“Sometimes you need a little more attention before your opponent picks up the puck,” he said. “If Kane is in a corner and he seems cornered and there is no exit, the other guy, Krashev or Domi, may have to take a step back from the blue line just in case. Just in case, we’re discussing that.”

Richardson intends to use a 5-forward setup only in the first minute of each power play, and chooses to deploy a two-man defense on the second “PP” unit instead of one. Either way, once Seth Jones returns to full power, the experiment could end soon.

Entering Wednesday, the Hawks’ power play retreated toward the middle of the pack with a 21.4% conversion rate (14th in the NHL) after going 23-3 over the past eight games. They ranked 28th in scoring chances per minute.

comfortable kyra

Forward Jujal Kaila has been a bright spot lately. He came into Wednesday with a point in two of his last three games, including Sunday’s goal against the Penguins, after recording just four points in his first 39 games as a Hawk. was pushed up to his third row next to Jason Dickinson.

He said he was in the best state of confidence since suffering a concussion last December.

“It’s trending upward,” he said. “I feel more comfortable skating through the puck and trying to generate more offense.”


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Written by Natalia Chi

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