GLENDALE -- The Coyotes’ power-play unit is succeeding at just under 20 percent this season – a nice improvement from recent years.
Assistant Coach Newell Brown has played a key role in helping Phoenix improve in this key area.
“He’s done a great job for us,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said of Brown, whom the Coyotes hired last summer after the Vancouver Canucks changed coaching staffs. “I didn’t think we’d have a chance to get him in the summer because I thought he was going to go to New York with Alain (Vigneault), but when he became available he was the guy that we wanted and he’s come in and fit in very well. He communicates very well with the players, he sees the game, and he knows the game very well. He’s got some new and different ideas for us on the power play that I think have really helped us. Sometimes you hear a different voice, a different way to say things -- that's all players need.”
Captain Shane Doan agrees.
"He's awesome," Doan said of Brown. "Our power-play (success) has a lot to do with him. That's his thing, and he's such a stickler on details and he shows us when we do the little things right and when we do them wrong. On top of that, he is one of the most positive, enjoyable people to be around and as an assistant coach you love having someone who everybody enjoys being around."
The Coyotes finished the abbreviated 2012-13 season ranked 25th in the NHL at 14.6 percent on the power play. In 2011-12, the Coyotes ranked 29th in the League at 13.6 percent.
This season, the Coyotes rank 14th in the League at 19.6 percent and they’ve already scored 11 power-play goals in 15 games. Last season they scored 25 in 48 games, and in 2011-12 they netted just 34 in 82 games.
Brown credits interaction and collaboration between himself, Head Coach Dave Tippett and the other coaches for the improvement.
“There’s also collaboration with the players as well,” Brown said. “It’s important to get their input, too. We have some really good people on our power play and that’s a good starting point. Their attention to the details and their work ethic has really helped. But we’re only 15 games in. We’ve seen some positive signs but we have a long way to go and a lot more progress to make.”
The Coyotes have been shooting the puck more on power plays this season and getting good results.
|Photo by Getty Images. |
“What we try to do is set up all of our puck movement and player movement to set up a shot,” Brown said. “We’re trying to move with a purpose in the offensive zone and on our entries. Hopefully people can notice that we are shooting the puck, and when we do we have people going in the right direction and we have a player in screen position and we have people converging on the net. It’s important that we all know that a shot is coming and we can all start heading in that direction so if the first shot doesn’t go in we’re in position for rebounds. It’s not too complicated but that’s basically the way you have to score goals on a power play.”
On Tuesday, Brown will coach against the Canucks for the first time since leaving Vancouver after three seasons.
He sees similarities between the teams and is expecting a competitive game between his new team and his former team.
“They have a lot of good defenders and the puck movement is good from their back end,” Brown said. “Obviously, the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler are elite players that you really have to watch out for. They’re going to give an honest effort against us and we’re going to have to match it.”
Brown and his wife Lori are enjoying being part of the Arizona community.
“So far it’s been fantastic,” Brown said. “We love everything about it; the weather, the people, the community. It’s been a great change. The team is real good and we have a real close-knit group of players and the staff is very close-knit as well. There’s a lot respect here between management, coaches and the players. Everybody genuinely likes each other and enjoys coming to work each day.”