What Is A Power Play In Hockey?

A power play in hockey occurs when a team takes a penalty resulting in a man advantage. The offending player serves his time in the penalty box ultimately leaving his team with one fewer player on the ice.

A team is on the powerplay when they are the team with more players on the ice due to a penalty. The team with fewer players on the ice is referred to as short-handed.

Powerplays can be caused by a large number of reasons most of which result in a player serving two minutes in the box.

Additionally, multiple players on a single team can earn penalties at the same time resulting in one team having five players and the other having three.

A team will always have at least three players on the ice during a penalty kill.

If another penalty is committed when you have two players in the box two minutes will be added to the five on three power play as opposed to a five on two power play occurring.

What To Know

Plus Minus Does Not Count

One thing you need to know about powerplays in hockey is that your plus-minus statistics will not be affected.

Whether you are on the powerplay or penalty kill a goal be scored by the team with the man advantage will not affect a player’s plus-minus.

The reasoning for this is because playing on the penalty kill or powerplay would greatly affect a players statistic. The team with the man advantage has a much higher likelihood of scoring meaning players on the penalty kill would have their stat negatively affected.

This same problem would exist for the powerplay unit as they would be able to artificially inflate their plus-minus by playing on the powerplay.

That being said if the shorthanded team is able to score while their opponents are on a powerplay all players on the ice will have their plus-minus affected.

Shorthanded Teams Don’t Have To Worry About Icing

Another important thing to know about powerplays in hockey is that the short-handed team is not able to ice the puck.

Icing in hockey occurs when a team shoots the puck from their half of the ice past the opposing team’s goal line. In most cases, this means the play will be blown dead and a faceoff will take place in front of the net of the team that iced the puck.

When short-handed players are able to dump pucks in from anywhere on the ice past the opposing team’s goal line. This will not result in an icing call making it much easier for the penalty killers to burn some time off the powerplay.

This rule change is put in place so that shorthanded teams have a better chance at stopping opposing teams powerplays.

Types Of Powerplays

Two Minute

The most common type of powerplay in hockey is going to last two minutes. A two-minute powerplay is going to take place whenever a team takes a minor penalty.

Minor penalties are frequently called and include infractions such as roughing, tripping, and hooking.

On a two minute powerplay, a goal will result in the powerplay being completed and the offender being removed from the penalty box.

If the team does not score the player will remain in the box for the full two minutes then will make his way onto the ice.

Double Minor

The next most common type of powerplay is a double minor. This occurs when a playing takes a double minor penalty which results in a four-minute powerplay.

Double minor powerplays can be caused by things such as a high stick that ultimately causes the opponent to bleed.

When a double minor is assessed it is applied as if two separate minor penalties occurred. If a team is able to score in the first two minutes of the double-minor then the first two minutes of the penalty will be wiped out.

The player will then remain in the box and serve the next two minutes of his penalty. Despite this being a double minor this penalty only puts a single player in the box and results in a five on four advantage for four minutes.

Five Minute Major

The final type of powerplay we are going to cover is the five-minute major. These penalties are relatively rare and result in a player being in the box for five minutes.

Major penalties are reserved for especially dangerous incidents which is why the punishment is so severe.

During a five minute major penalty, the team on the powerplay can score as many goals as they like. Unlike minors and double minors, the player does not get to leave the box if a goal is scored on the powerplay.

This can make taking a five-minute major penalty a very costly mistake.

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