One of the most obvious upgrades to the Rangers since Alain Vigneault and his new coaching staff have taken over has been the power play.
After finishing last season 23rd in the NHL with the extra man at a paltry 15.7%, not to mention a miniscule 9.1% (4 for 44) in the playoffs, the Blueshirts are now in the Top 15 at 19.6%.
And apparently it's not just the fans who are noticing as Brad Richards explains (via New York Post)…
“It feels like a power play. It didn’t feel like much of a power play last year. We practice it every day. Everybody communicates at practice. Everybody on the unit has a voice in it. It’s fun to be on a cohesive unit.”
…amazing what happens when you actually practice the power play. I'm still absolutely baffled at how infrequently Torts used to work on the extra man deficiencies during his tenure. The Rangers pretty much have the same roster as last season, so I think it's pretty obvious what the problem has been prior to this year.
…passes seem crisper, there's constant motion and entering the defensive zone seems downright simple. Instead of losing momentum, the power play is actually winning games for the Rangers under Vigneault. It all seems so easy.
…i also have to give credit where credit is due, as Arniel deserves a big kudos for getting this turned around in pretty quick fashion. More than happy to eat some crow regarding his hiring. Any concern I may have had with his past relationships with former Columbus players have gone right out the window.
…and if you needed further proof of what held back the Rangers power play last season, just take a look at the bottom of this year's NHL power play stats. There you will find the Vancouver Canucks sitting at 27th (9.7%, 6 for 62) in the league despite having such super star players as the Sedin twins and Kesler. Seriously, Mike Sullivan should literally get on his knees every day to thank Torts for keeping him employed.