I was watching some game on CI a few nights ago, and one of the colour guys - forget who - trotted out that old favourite, faceoffs being SO important. It seems to me that somebody in the Oilogosphere made some work of discrediting this, and I'd have thought it would be mudcrutch79, but I couldn't find the post. Or maybe I just made it up.
At any rate, what the colour dude was saying was that with the new rule this year, initial PP faceoff takes place in the offensive zone, that power play percentages were up. It does seem that teams are deadlier this year than last, although I'd want to look at the numbers going back farther than that. Still, we're a good 15-20 games into the season for all teams now, some 300 games now, so we must have enough data now to be able to draw a preliminary conclusion.
I don't have the time right now to suss things out - my life is busier than usual and I still suck at figuring out how to figure things out - but it seems to me that the way to approach it would be to look at faceoff wins by the team on the PP immediately following a neutral or defensive zone penalty, and see how many goals were scored in the first 15 seconds or so after the faceoff. If possible, look at zone possession - did the puck leave the penalty killer's end? First, of course, you'd want to make sure that PP% really has gone up over the year.
On the face of it: we know that the Oilers are usually a top 10 PK team. We also know that this year, they've few forwards who can be trusted to take a draw. And we know that this year, their PK is surprisingly stinky. Correlation, causation?
If somebody else wants to look at it, I'd appreciate seeing the results. Otherwise, I'll get to it when I can.