McCabe Impact On Power Play Goes Beyond The Numbers

March 9, 2011, by

Normally I agree with George Ays of Tracking the Rangers when he says, “Numbers don’t lie, they just don’t agree with you.”  One place where I don’t agree, at least not yet, is in terms of the impact Bryan McCabe has had on the New York Rangers power play.  It has been five games and the stats say the man advantage is still struggling only converting on 3 of 20 (15%) power plays.  The numbers say that the impact has been negligible to this point.  I do not get that same feel in watching the Rangers when they have the advantage since he has been here.

The willingness to shoot the puck and hit the net has created something opponents have not had to account for all season.  He has yet to score with his bombs from the point, but it has created a number of rebound opportunities and beyond that has made other players on the ice more aggressive and that aggression has been utterly lacking for this team all season.  More players are willing to pull the trigger on their own shots, with more space to do so and some are even heading to the front of the net for a change.  All of these things are critical to getting the final reward.

Along with his shot the biggest help to the power play has been his ability to keep the puck in the zone.  For much of the year the Rangers would spend half the power play chasing the puck down to the other end of the ice and starting over because they were unable to hold the line, but McCabe has been a virtual vacuum back there sucking up clearing attempts and continuing possession for the offense.

His understanding and comfort running a power play also shows in how he walks the line at the point to create angles for both his own shot and passing lanes.  These are the types of things that a power play quarterback does and the things that McCabe should be imparting to the rest of the Rangers defense core.  The results are not there yet, but I believe that between the movement, the aggression, the puck possession and the big shot from the point those results will come in short order.

So, do the numbers lie or my eyes?  Given the small sample size we might not find out the answer until the year is over.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Brian says:

    Although the conversion rate could definately be higher, this is a FAR better looking powerplay than what we saw earlier in the season. I agree with everything you said regarding McCabe’s play. Just a matter of time IMO.

  2. Chris in MA says:

    Im in 100% agreement. While the numbers havent caught up, the on-ice, visual product appears greatly improved. Its only a matter time before it starts to click.

    I think the best part of McCabe thus far is, like you mentioned, him keeping the puck in the zone. It keeps the lay alive.

    I think the number shavent caught up yet because the players still arent used to having control in the offensive zone. Every time the puck starts to go towards the blue-line, most of the guys start moving back expecting to need ot backcheck on a short-handed rush… but then McCabe keeps it in and they are slightly out of position. Once they get used to it, we should see some more chances.

    … its just too bad this couldnt have happened earlier in the season. It might be just too late now.

  3. JT says:

    I also agree, Michael, and would add one other dimension that McCabe brings, which is the intimidation factor. Opponents never needed to respect the Ranger PP, but they know McCabe and fear him. If they are too aggressive and overplay him they could pay a big price, either because he will find the open man or because he will have a good shooting lane. This creates just a bit more room for all five penalty killers to operate, and contributes to the obvious new PP dynamism that should slowly start to show up in the stats. Like Chris in MA, I hope it’s not too little too late. This West Coast trip will be crucial. Among Buffalo, Carolina, NJ and the Rangers, not only do the Rangers have the fewest games left to play, but I would argue they also face the toughest opponents. If they make the playoffs, they will have really earned it.

  4. KC says:

    Numbers don’t lie, the Rangers PP is clicking, with McCabe, at about the same rate the Florida PP did. Before you retort with the ‘Florida doesn’t have any talent’, the numbers tell me the Florida PP was 6% better WITHOUT McCabe in the lineup this year.

  5. Jordan says:

    You need to be sure you’re using the correct metrics for evaluation. Because it’s a team sport, it’s hard to point to one player, PP QB or not and point to PP conversion and say the difference lies in the one player.