Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Shot Not Taken

Power Play Tactics: Championship teams need an excellent PPSpecial Teams

I wrote before this season started that with the team's loss of firepower, unless the Rangers improved on the power play they would be burnt toast.

Last night the toast was burnt. The Rangers were 0-3 on the PP. We took merely four shots on goal over five minutes and twenty seconds. The Capitals were 2-5. The Caps took nine shots in six minutes and 46 seconds. In about one extra minute, the Caps more than doubled our shot output. As Wayne Gretzky said, "the shot not taken will not score 100% of the time."

The two PP goals by the Caps put them back in the game from 4-1 to 4-3.

Make no mistake about it. This Rangers team was coached and built to play scoreless 5-5 hockey - a great goalie and defensemen who supposedly would get the puck out of their end fast. Not that bad a plan - albeit boring. However, if you are built like this, then you must prevail on "special teams." You must shoot the puck on the power play, and limit the number of shots against you on the power play. Last night, we did not.

Last year our power play was bad, and converted 16.5%. This year we have improved to 14.6%. St. Louis' coaching staff, on the other hand, set out to improve its league worst power play at 14.0% last year and is now at 22.3%. See what a coach can do! I have a great idea for Glen Sather. On April 2, 2007, Lou Lamoriello fired Claude Julien with three games left in the season, when the Devils had the second-best record in the conference and were on their way to setting a franchise record for regular season wins. Why? Because he could read the writing on the wall. How about it Glen? Do you like what you see on the ice?


Chris Drury said we "should put this game in the garbage." Considering how he played, I understand why. He had nothing left in the tank after the first two periods (with three assists) and was on the ice for all three of the last Caps goals. He was one of the few Rangers who did not register a single hit. Mark Messier NEVER would have been on the ice for the last three goals without being significantly involved in the game physically. Sorry, this is not what I expect from someone with a "C" on their jersey.

The Coach should take a really close look at the monster he created. His veteran players are all soft because they have nothing to fear from him. The young kids, on the other hand, play hockey: Girardi, Korpikoski and Dawes (3) hits, Callahan and Stahl (4) hits, and Dubbie (5). If his high priced talent played the game physically like the kids do (Stahl's hit on "O" at the blue line was a classic stand him up and sit him down beauty), the Rangers would have won. (The only exception - Paul Mara, with a hit and two blocked shots. He was on the ice for over 20 minutes and during that time Washington did not score. Say coach - maybe Redden should watch Mara and Stahl play from the bench?)

Remember, the Coach told us that good teams find ways to win. Well, we are not a good team then, are we?


Absent a significant trade or a new coach or both, look for this team to be in the six-seven-eight seed position shortly on their way to another early exit.

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  • jb said...

    The pathetic power play is the dying canary in the coal mine that demonstrates that this team is running on fumes. They're going no where until they fix it.

    Renney has had years to fix things. It might be a combination of both personnel and coaching. But, it looks like the personnel are here for the duration, so that leaves the coaching as the only variable to change.

  • blow-me-down said...

    For me, nothing has changed with the Rangers since after the first or so games. I didn't see any of last night's game, but from what I understand, the change from a hard forechecking game where they made their own chances, to a sit back and hope the bell goes before the whole ball of yarn is unravelled, was like a switch was thrown. Some people said that their game just changed all of a sudden, very visibly.

    It's the coaching, and I cannot be convinced otherwise. Renney can change his sport jacket, but he'll never change his spots.

    I don't believe in his system. I think it is anal-retentive and holds the team back. I believe in what I see with my eyes, after many years of playing and watching hockey.

    Anyway, I'm going to forget about last night's game for a few days. The tormented life of a Rangers fan will back with me before I know it!

  • Anonymous said...

    renney isnt getting fired. these are the same dopes that let isiah run the knicks into the ground. at least give us an xmas sacrifice of perry pern....that will make the turkey taste better

  • Anonymous said...

    Marc Staal. STAAL! Not Stahl... Sit Voros, dress Prucha, please...