I know, not another 'the power play sucks' blog post, but when the Rangers are 2-for-36 with the man advantage, that kind of futility just can't be ignored.
Were they better yesterday? Sure. But when you're in the playoffs moral victories mean nothing to me.
This abomination of a power play is killing the Rangers in this series. Every team in the NHL gains momentum through the power play, but somehow the the Blueshirts lose it. So many times yesterday and in Game 1 they had a golden opportunity to grab hold of the game or get back into it and nothing but frustration.
A lot of the blame can be placed at the feet of John Tortorella and Mike Sullivan as it's their strategies and game plans on the power play that are failing so mightily. But at some point the finger has to be pointed at the players.
It's not like Tortorella is telling them don't get to the front of the net, make sure you're standing still and take as weak of a shot from the point as you can.
Rick Nash agrees that it's time for the players to step up (via Daily News)...
“It’s frustrating. (The power play) is when you’re supposed to crawl back into a game or take a lead in a game. We watched all the video. We got all the game plan. It’s on the players now and those who are out there to execute, just as we talked about last game.”
Time to get guys like Boyle and Pyatt on the crease. Hagelin and Brassard along the boards looking to feed. Nash and Kreider in the slot ready to fire away. Callahan and Stepan roving around the net looking for garbage goals. And McDonagh and Moore bombing away from the points.
Notice the the two names I left out?
Before this series we all thought that it was going seven games and that the team who could win the special teams battle would likely come out on top. While the latter still holds true, little did we know it could ultimately lead to a four game sweep.
In some positive news on offense, at least Nash finally scored...
Really have to hope that goal gives him a shot in the arm and he can start carrying the offense the way he did in the regular season as the secondary scoring that was the story in the Caps series has all but dried up.
Nashty had that intimidating look back in his eyes game 1 and I predicted here that he would score in the next 2 games. He didn't waste any time. He's more involved, skating better and is regaining some mustard on the forehand. Got to believe he's feeling better.
When there is no success it is the teams fault. Not any individual's including the coach. Torts needs to revamp his power play and the boys need to execute. Simple - at least on paper.
Torts gets blamed for having no offensive schemes and a coaching style based on hustle and the dump and chase to generate a stagnant offense with no fluidity
It is the players...the ones that Torts keeps playing that suck on powerplays (Richards)...and then thinks Hagelin stinks on the powerplay because he is too fast LOL...one of our most efficient players on the offensive end is not on PP because he is too fast? How about benching Richards because he sucks all around and is too slow? Torts sucks
Hey...there is plenty of blame to go around..LOL.....players and coach(es).
Without question, it seems Torts is the guy you want to preach work ethic....AND commitment to defense. However, he should rethink his collapsing low on the puck defense. NOBODY cites the fact that when he won the Cup with Tampa in 204 that the blue lines were closer in! They pushed them back to 75' the next year. That is WAY too much space for a collapsing system to cover without making it a shooting gallery and severely compromising your own offensive breakouts. THAT is entirely on Torts.
As for the players, they are simply not tough enough - not willing to sacrifice themselves on every shift, in every way to get it done offensively in the playoffs. In the playoffs EVERY single aspect of your game is a fight, every inch, every pass, every possession, your spot on the ice...everything. The Rangers simply don't have enough guys even involved in those fights, let alone winning them.
Nash is a perfect example. His skills are swallowed in the playoffs because he hasn't adjusted to that fight. Do you think he is THAT much less talented than Crosby, who is ALSO (Nash apologists) shadowed even more then Nash, yet somehow fights enough to get space? Or Krejci? Or Malkin? Nash simply has to learn to be more physical. Regular season room doesn't exist in the playoffs. Regular season work/fight ethic is raised a factor of 10 in the playoffs. Nash, and a lot of other NYR's have to realize that.
Wow, what a concept. The guys who are actually on the ice are the one who are responsible for sucking? It just baffles me when people try to blame coaches for players not doing what they're supposed to do. Does Torts make the Rangers lose every friggin' offensive zone draw on PPs? Does he force them to be so damn predictable with their passing? Does he purposely tell them, nobody crash the net, we'll score on a 60 ft, 50 mph wrist shot that the goalie can see all the way? There is NEVER a person in front even trying to provide a screen, and unless the point men throw their whole body into the boards, they NEVER keep a puck in at the point. Kinda hard to score on a PP when you have no traffic, no face-off wins, and no way to keep the puck in the zone. This is ALL on the players.
When Boston gets possession it depends on the point a lot to organize its attack on the Rangers.New York plays into the Bruins hands when it collapses deeply and allows the Bruins point men to organize plays or take shots.This will be dreadful for the Rangers if they don't adapt and cover the point more aggressively.I wonder if Torts will change his strategy next game and start covering the point better, with a more challenging defence. Hits are not a bad idea here-wonder if Torts will order it or send out the people who will do it.
Torts, historically, has an NHL reputation for getting his players to overachieve. That reputation goes all the way back to his H.S. school days outside of Boston where he demanded more from his teammates than the coach did. It is a pattern of his leadership that was established and implemented over decades.....that is fact!....RECOGNIZED BY GM'S AROUND THE LEAGUE!
The present Ranger team is filled with players who never had to outwork their opponents on the pp...."take a hit and give a hit."Yet many of them have been statistically successful as hockey players. Torts' pp plan is the playoff proven way to have a winning playoff pp........watch other playoff games!
The challenge is to implement his plan with his present team. In order to do that he must have players who want to give "give a hit and take a hit on the pp." The only forward who is consciously willing to do that is Cally with Boyle (poor hands) learning fast and Nash, Zuke are learning slowly.
It is an easy pp process to teach but it takes a hockey player a long time if at all to change the way he THINKS about the power play. THE THINKING HAS TO CHANGE FIRST THEN IMPLEMENTATION COMES NEXT.
Gaborik was not WILLING to do this so he is gone. Richards is not WILLING to do this so he will be gone. It is the reason why they got Clowe! In the off season among other things The Rangers will try to acquire and develop more of TORTS" kind of players. Sather knows that and so does all the other GMs in the League.
First of all, at what point does this become a record? Are such things tracked? In my coaching world, if I tell a player to be outside the crease and screen a goalie and he doesn't on a shift, that would be a $250 fine. Do it again and it's triple. I'm sure I would get all of the good free agents to play for me...... NOT! Even some of the worst Ranger teams had PPs better than this. Incredible.
Yet Richards n MDZ continue to play on the powerplay. I dont understand how this team continues to flounder on the powerplay.....it's been the one consistent this entire year. I agree the bulk of the blame goes to the players but jesus does Torts make it easy to point the finger at him as well. Check out what he said about why Hags isn't playing on the powerplay despite having the 2nd most playoff goals on the team.
You know, through these first two games i think Nash has been the best and most effective Ranger.... The problem there are times where he goes invisible, and it seems like he only shows up for a period or two throughout a whole game....
As for the PP, I really do not think it is the players. In my opinion it is the way in which they set up. Their guys on the point, play as if they are playing defense 5-on-5. What I mean by that is that instead of being at the top of the circles they are all the way up near the blue line, which makes it easier for the goalie. Also, it seems as if the players are always along the boards and facing the boards instead of the middle of the ice. One simple rule on the PP, is to always outnumber the opposing team when the puck is in the corner because you have an extra man. But, the Rangers never do this and always lose the battle, and then out comes the puck.... It really is hockey 101 but Sullivan cannot run an effective PP
@jmacwilli Good point about the blue lines. I didn't follow the TB title but it seems to me they were more uptempo and maybe Torts' coaching style has taken a step back. maybe he needs to forget about the success he had last year with an overachieving undertalented squad and look at what he has now and revise his game plan (duh)
@EHBIGAPPLE all i know is when I watch the rangers pp I see richards n MDZ struggling at the points to keep pucks in the zone n make solid passes/shots while the majority of the power play has 5 guys standing around flat. When i watched other teams like the Hawks and Penguins, I see a power play w/ players constantly moving around the ice in addition to moving the puck. Nothing easier for a pk to defend against than a power play of guys standing around waiting for pucks. Torts' system has struggled since he implemented it. At what point do you realize forcing the same system in hopes of a different result is nothing short of insanity.
@EHBIGAPPLE I am a big time Torts supporter glad to see I am not the only one. Though 90% of what you wrote is true & well thought out so thank you for that. I have to disagree w-you somewhat about Totrts/Sully not to be blamed for the PP failure. Torts/Sully's design is out of whack. They have Nash in a position where he can't do anything. They have a small guy in front Cally & a big body on the half boards (Nash). Also when u have Richards & Nash on the PP they are basically the same player. Also Richards on the point is ridiculous. He doesn't have a big shot so why is he there? With that said Torts /Sully has made the changes everybody here wanted in terms of personnel & so & it still hasn't worked. So most of the blame should go to the players.
@Josh6 No Girardi. He's a joke on the PP.
@Josh6 I know Girardi has one of the two power play goals, but he has no business being on the man advantage.
but the first one should be on for a majority of all PP's and let them play dont keep changing it around, but it is the system that has to change not the players
@calithirteen We all know what he said its yesterday's news. You should pay no attention to it. Its Torts singling out a guy who doesn't play on the PP to take attention away from the guys who are. Guess what it worked cause thats what everyone was talking about. Torts doesn't say anything publicly w-out a reason. He also said it about a guy who he knew wouldn't be bothered by it. Don't believe me read what Jay Feaster said about him, In case u don't know Feaster is the guy who fired him.
@calithirteen @EHBIGAPPLE Here is where I am coming from.You can blame Torts/Sully for failing to motivate the players to execute on the pp....that obviously is a reality. I am suggesting that most of the players on the pp do not have "the willful makeup" to do what needs to be done on the pp. It takes the kind of work that is difficult and potentially painful tto make the power play work. They need different personell who is willing to pay the price. There are a lot of soft players on this team. The system is fine. Pigs won't fly!
I agree 100%. Especially on Richards. MDZ has million dollar talent & a ten cent head so he doesn't belong PP.
@KevinDeLury @Josh6 I agree. But if you look at the Rangers current defense this is where you stand. Mac is not playing on the PP, he gets an absurd amount of time without PP, and torts has made it clear he is not giving him the extra 5-7 minutes a game because that would put him at 38 minutes on some nights. Staal would be a great option, but I am pretty sure he is done for the year. Your last two options, Del Zaster and Eminger.... we have seen what DZ can do, and it is essentially nothing he hasn't scored a PP goal in god knows how long, and obviously Girardi offers more than Eminger.
He is not a great option for any PP, but from my perspective it comes down to him vs. DZ and he beats DZ any night of the week
@ThrSage so the difference for torts between tampa n now in ny is that he deflects attention toward himself while talking smack about his players instead of the other team. Look i know how torts plays the media n thats fine and all but guess what: at the end of the day its how his coaching effects the team. I'm sure Hags had a good laugh about the "stinks" comment n can handle it. My problem is one of our most productice players is not on the power play along w/ Moore while MDZ n Richards continue to be dead weight pulling the power play down. We're down 2 again n this power play needs to right itself or its lights out especially if Henrik is playing hurt.
@EHBIGAPPLE I'd love to be working behind the bench! lol No I'm disagreeing with Torts' inability to adjust his system to the players he has. And as for switching personnel, he waited till the 2nd round of the playoffs to finally pull richards off of the powerplay that has been awful all season. That's called too little too late. torts needed to adjust his system for the powerplay 1 month into the season when he realized the loss of Rupp, Bickel, Prust, changed the character of this team.
@calithirteen @EHBIGAPPLE Perhaps you could join me behind the bench. We seem to be saying the same thing. The system doesn't change.....the execution of the system becomes weaker until "better fitting" players are either found or developed. Isn't that what Torts did by replacing Richards with Stepan..........replacing Richards with Boyle.....then replacing Richards with the Bench?
@EHBIGAPPLE you would make a great assistant coach for torts because you are missing the bigger point. You have to adjust your system to the players you have. That's a rediculous statement to suggest that because this team has soft players who are unwilling to work in Tort's system then it should be on the players. A good coach maximizes the potential of all of his players while doing his best minimize their weaknesses. You proved my point exactly. Torts doesnt have the players needed to run his system so he needs to adjust his system until they can get those players. If not, he'll be looking for a new job elsewhere.
@calithirteen @ThrSage It's all that hair gel seeping into his brain. Ease off the grease, DZ!
I agree Torts is far from perfect & his PP construction is a joke. I also think he makes things worse for himself whether its calculated or not when he acts like a jackass.