Alain Vigneault has proven to be a patient man this season. He kept an even keel as the Rangers sputtered in October & November and has allowed his players to fight through mistakes all year.
But even he can’t ignore the ugliness that is the Rangers power play. Yesterday, he discussed the possibility of personnel changes to the extra man units for tonight’s game (via Bergen Record)…
“That’s a good question and I’ve gotta tell you I’ve given that some thought. We are getting some good looks. Our first power play last night we got some really good opportunities. But there’s two things: sometimes I think you have to trust that your players are going to find a way to get it done and some other times also it’s the options that you have. The other thing that comes into consideration also is that this time of year we don’t practice a lot so you don’t work on a lot of things. So I’m thinking of all those things right now to try and come up with a solution.”
…while inserting Diaz into the line-up can’t make things worse on the power play (practice or no practice), I wonder what kind of impact it would have on a defensive unit that put on a clinic in the first and third periods against the Penguins Friday night. I’m hopeful the changes AV refers to would be more shuffling the current line-up around rather than doing anything too drastic.
…to me, one of the issues on the power play seems to be effort. I’m not sure if there’s less urgency from the units or what, but there’s very little movement, they’re not skating the puck into the zone with a purpose nor are they winning puck battles. I wonder if a guy like Hagelin, who can use his speed to retrieve pucks, might be a good option. Although, according to Torts last season Hagelin stinks on the power play, so who knows.
…another issue is that the Rangers always seem to look for the perfect play instead of just getting the puck on net. If I had a nickle for every time a Rangers cross ice pass was intercepted in the playoffs. The Rangers point men need to be more aggressive with their shots and maybe having a big body like Boyle in front of the net would be enough to cause havoc and hopefully create some dirty goals.
Another move could be to place either Marc Staal or Anton Stralman on the point, but apparently that’s not a move Vigneault is considering…
“I would say (other than liking them defensively) there are some other reasons why I don’t play them on the power play that I’m probably not comfortable sharing with you.”
…assuming AV didn’t want to divulge further as to not give the Penguins some inside information, but that was a weird response.