BLUESHIRT POWER PLAY: All The Rangers Are Doing is Speeding Along The Perimeter Now. The Methods Still Haven't Changed.
This is just total speculation and opinion on my part about Torts...but there is no doubt in my mind the loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov.24th, is the one game above all that stays in Tort's mind during every practice and every game. He's not haunted by his former team. But that's the game Tampa put on a Power Play clinic. That's the Power Play style Torts wishes he could teach the Rangers to play.
Has The NY Rangers' Power Play been better as of late? Sure. But...
Tampa ~ moved with the puck and after the pass. They crisscrossed and passed through the slot and crease. They start high and wide then tightened the noose around the net in a hurry. They get the defense out of position by making them move their heads. When that happens the body follows. They get defenses moving and out of position by passing counter-motion. They utilize high low passing and when in close (enough) they cross-ice pass. All those factors make defenses skate in circles chasing the action. Cross-ice passes beg to be picked off when the set-up is high and wide along the perimeter; that has to happen close and low. Enter Rangers.
Rangers ~ Last night's Power Play had accurate passing and "lightning" speed. They shot more and passed less. But I'm sorry to be the kill-joy in this, the PP unit is still the same. All they did last night is what they've always done, just this time a little faster paced. The Rangers still played two high; two wide and passed around the perimeter. At no time did an Islander defender have to change direction or look the opposite way. The Rangers' passing around the perimeter keeps defenders moving laterally, allowing them to stay squared on the puck, stick down, and eyes peeled on the skater in front of him. The four-man set-up in front of the goalie merely has to sway left and right. All I saw last night was the Rangers merely trying to speed this process up.
The Rangers' Power Play is as far away from Tampa's as is the distance between the two cities itself.
Sean Avery is the very type of passer needed to execute the style of Power Play Coach Torts has salivated for since Tampa. No player on the Rangers has out-done the effort by Avery behind the net this season. He looks to make low-high passes to someone coming down the slot. He understands the Science of Chaos down low and in front of the net. Challenge him with responsibility more and you'll get cleaner play from him.
Ottawa Senators @ NYRangers ~ Sunday DECEMBER 5th.