“I take full responsibility for where this team is right now. That’s incumbent with the position. My job is to correct this, get us wining, get us feeing better about ourselves. I look to be a solution. It’s as simple as that.” -- Tom Renney, 2/15/09
It is getting quite tiresome seeing the many failings of this team so how about we try to step into Renney's role and find some ways to win? For part 1, let's address the biggest issue, the power play.
The man advantage has only proven to give an advantage to opposing teams this season so it is time to shake it up. There is no way to impart a new philosophy than adding new people so here are the two units I recommend:
The biggest change from the current philosophy is that both units use a talent forward at the point. Let's face it, they are no more defensive liabilities than Rozy or Redden currently are and they actually add a scoring threat. Not to mention that it is much easier to quarterback a power play from up high then it is on the halfboards (unless you are a monster like Jagr was).Unit 1Prucha-Drury-KorpikoskiZherdev-StaalUnit 2Sjostrom-Dubinsky-OrrNaslund-Mara
Unit 1 Details: Earlier in the season Zherdev proved that he knows how to backcheck when he wants to and let's face it, he is the slickest stickhandler on the team. Having him up high would draw the penalty killers up high, leaving more room for the forwards to swarm around the paint and cause chaos. Drury has shown a willingness to pay the price in front and Prucha has never shied away from crashing the crease. We have yet to see what the Korpedo can do, but I would love to find out. Aside from being the unit's defensive conscience, Staal would be the safety valve if Z can't get the puck down low, especially with that heavy shot he has - he just would need to use it more often.
Unit 2 Details: I've been pushing for Orr on a power play unit since Christmastime. Let the big man loose and see what he can do - he is definitely an improvement on Voros. Dubi is Dubi; he is still learning what his size is capable of and he has pretty good hands. Sjostrom is relentless, fast and can help defensive coverage if Naslund was to slide in from the point. Naslund has lost a step but he still is a saavy player and has shown that he is money in the high slot. It might be easier for him to get there cycling from the point then from down low. And Mara has been the steadiest presence on the blueline in all three zones so if his stupid fight with Asham hasn't cost him his season, he should keep a spot on the power play.
Key Omissions: Gomez, Callahan, Rozy and Redden. Gomez carries the puck across the neutral zone like no other but his little curl and dump garbage is a joke. He doesn't have the size, strength or shot of Jagr so his attempts to QB the power play from down low have been a complete failure. Cally is spectacular off of the rush ... once settled into the zone, notsomuch. Besides, keeping him on the bench would keep him energized to keep the opposition unsettled once they reach even strength. There is a good defenseman trapped inside Rozy. The Czech has shown flashes of it every now and again and he just needs to get the confidence back to be a top D all of the time. As for Redden, well, he doesn't belong in the NHL anymore, much less sitting on the point turning the puck over on a power play unit.
So what do you guys think?