Regular readers of this blog might notice I don’t talk enough about the Rangers’ power play, mostly because I feel there rarely is much rhyme or reason to its successes or failures. The power play is kind of like putting in golf—obviously essential, but often difficult to define.
And yet having said all that, even in what was an otherwise impressive showing against the Devils, the Rangers power play was again a stumbling block. Theories abound on why that is—not enough shots, not enough traffic, the lack of a quintessential power play quarterback.
With one unit, the Jaromir Jagr-Brendan Shanahan one, so much of its strategy is geared around feeding Shanahan in the slot. But with Shanahan struggling of late, the right wing often isn’t in position to even get a clean shot off.
Put it all together the Rangers are 1-for-their-last-24 on the man-advantage, and everyone on the team knows it absolutely has to get better if the club wants to have success in the playoffs.
“Itâ€™s just one of those things where itâ€™s going to have to bounce off three people and go in,â€ said Scott Gomez. â€œWe need it. Thereâ€™s no question about it. But hey, we have to keep working, and hopefully it does bounce off three guys and go in and away we go.â€
Said Martin Straka: “We have to keep working on it because it’s going to be huge in the playoffs.”
Incidentally, Straka and Christian Backman have been the only two personnel changes Tom Renney has made on the power play of late, and even with Straka, he was subbed out for Nigel Dawes by game’s end.
Are more drastic changes needed? Put it another way: could it really hurt? Isn’t Ryan Callahan’s nose for the net worth trying out up front? Might—and brace yourself for this one—a revitalized Marek Malik be a more sensible option at the point than a clearly tentative Backman?
Maybe these aren’t the changes that are going to immediately flip a switch. But at this point in the season, I don’t see the harm in trying.
In other news: