Hockey Tactics

Handedness on the powerplay matters – and it’s time the Rangers adjust

Four righties on PP1 isn't working

Up until very recently, the Rangers had a solid powerplay. Even when Mika Zibanejad was out, the Rangers’ powerplay didn’t even skip a beat. The reasoning was pretty simple too: They had the right personnel in the right situations to succeed.

Now with Zibanejad back, all of a sudden the Rangers have a bad powerplay. It’s not just about converting either, they just look sloppy.

Kaapo Kakko was taken off PP1 and his spot was taken over by Artemi Panarin, with Zibanejad sliding into the off-wing circle spot. Adam Fox is up top with Chris Kreider in front. Ryan Strome is the rover in the middle. The three in the middle rotate, but for the most part that’s what it is. That’s four right-handed shots on one powerplay, with the lone lefty the net front presence, not even on the off-wing. It winds up looking like this.

When something like this happens, the opposition doesn’t have to fear the one timer from half the ice. They know they’ll have that extra half second to get over. For the goalie, it means less splits and more push offs with position. It’s so much easier to defend.

The funny thing here is that the Blueshirts have the personnel to make it work. PP2 is comprised of Kakko, Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil, Jacob Trouba, and Tony DeAngelo. That’s three lefties. The simple answer here is move a lefty, probably Kakko, to PP1 and drop a righty, preferably a shooter (Panarin or Zibanejad) to PP2.

Since Panarin creates offense for everyone, dropping him to PP2 with Chytil and Buchnevich keeps the talent level but also spreads out that finishing shot. It ensures there are off-wings at the top of each circle. Fox and DeAngelo are solid up top. Overall, just completely balanced.

With this much skill, there is the urge to put all that high-end skill on one unit and just let it run. But the handedness matters. Without it, the ice is basically cut in half, and the danger level of the powerplay is neutered. The skill and personnel are there, just needs a tweak.

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  • A good balance of both righties, and lefties would make both units much more effective. If unit #1 falters, unit #2 can pick up the slack. This is too simple, even enough for Rainman, Forrest Gump, and the Three Stooges would have to agree, but they won’t. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • We talked about this yesterday, having 4 RH on the same PP is dumb, and this from our hockey “experts.”

    The PP? Pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, pass, … The opponents can stay in their “box” as they do not have to move, while the Rangers pass on the exterior, basically killing their own PP. It’s comical.

    I believe that Panarin and Zib should be split up unless the use Panarin as a “decoy” to have Zib float in the slot area, while the opponents rotate towards Panarin at the left dot. But of course, once you get the puck in the slot area, a shot is required. I don’t know why this team refuses to shoot the dam puck.

  • It’s almost as if David Quinn doesn’t notice basic hockey tactics.

    No, wait—it’s exactly like that.

    • In fairness to Quinn, the lack of shooting has been a issue for a long time. That part is not on him.

      But certainly, the rest is. His deployment of the units, etc.

    • In fairness to DQ, he’s coming in from the college ranks, and may never had this much talent, and or competition as he does in the pro ranks???????
      My concern with him is his deployment, and lack of objectively when playing less than the best person during a game due to biases. Also the fact that he over uses certain players, and basically runs a three line offense………..

  • It isn’t rocket science. This stuff works when you’re a teenager playing hockey. If you’re going to load up with righties (or lefties) on one unit, then at least try a different format or something. The 1-3-1 is designed for one-timers, or at the very least the threat of constant one-timers that opens up all sorts of options.

    This seemed to be Quinn trying to please everyone and ruining the power play in the process. There are times this season where Quinn just seems to be too much. He admitted to over-coaching Kakko earlier this season. And I think this is another example. Sometimes you just have to let things be and stop fiddling with things that aren’t broken.

  • They are afraid to ruffle the apple cart with some of the players I suspect. But guess what your job is to coach not play pattycakes. If that means dropping (ice cold) strome or zib… it needs to be done. Its unconscionable that they’d move panarin from his sweet spot. Fix it.

  • That’s why this coaching staff should be fired ASAP and… Strome had to be traded week ago

    PS: I would move Buch rather then Kaapo up, since Ziba had plenty experience working together

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