Well, the "James Neal on the point" idea that someone thought of went down in flames. So the Penguins decided, apparently, to replace him with Evgeni Malkin, which makes no sense at all. Via Penguins.com:
“When (Malkin’s) passing the puck to Kris, you’re going to see him backing off for that one-time position where he got that shot off last year quite a bit,” head coach Dan Bylsma said.
“I’m playing the point right now. I’ve played the point before,” Malkin said. “I’m a good playmaker. I can pass to ‘Sid’ or ‘Tanger’ for a one-timer. I hope it works.”
Hope is a good thing..... umm wait what.
A breakdown of why this is a terrible idea:
Orginally we were going to go through all of James Neal's 18 power=play goals and take screenshots of where he scored them from. But this site makes the point so much easier, it is sick. SomeKindOfNinja.com tracks where a player scored his goals from.
Let's take a look at James Neal on the powerplay last year.
Keep in mind, from the blueline to net, it is 64ft.
James Neal scored 18 powerplay goals last season. The average distance he scored from: 20.3 feet. Take a look:
That is a pretty damning stat. Someone decided to put Neal 44 feet further away from where he scored most of his goals on the PP last season? Really?
Now, Malkin's powerplay average distance is 35.7 feet. More reasonable, but shit.
But now, we took out shots under 40 feet. And look:
He got 13 shots off from an average of 54.4 feet.
By comparsion, let's take a look at Zdeno Chara:
35 shots from 57.5 feet. That is why a point guy on the powerplay will get you.
So conclusion: Neal, Malkin, or any forward on this team should not be playing the point. Last year, Steve Sullivan was the answer. The Pens let him walk. No clue why they are trying to force something that isn't there.
Why not just go with Paul Martin and Letang and see what happens? Martin can carry the puck, and he has shown some moves this year. Hell, we'd even take Despres, or Niskanen when he was healthy.
Maybe we'll see the powerplay click tomorrow night and even this weekend. But long-term, putting Malkin on the point is basically putting a Band-Aid on AIDS.
@SteveBurtch for the link to SomeKindOfNinja
Mike Colligan basically wrote the same thing last October, but his was better.