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Monday, February 11, 2013
Torts to players: You figure it out

By Matt Ehalt

As the Rangers try to fix their anemic power play, one that is scoring on 10 percent of its chances, the coaching staff is handing the keys to the players.

If Rick Nash wants to be at the point, he can. If Brad Richards decides he wants the puck, Richards can put himself in a spot to make that happen.The Rangers hope that by giving the players freedom during the man-up situations it can galvanize a power play that is currently ranked next to last in the NHL.

"All the coaches felt that we were giving them just a little bit too much and I think that turns into player's thinking, and it ends up being too stagnant, especially on a power play," Rangers coach John Tortorella said before the team's 5-1 win over the Lightning Sunday. "We want them to not get stuck in one position. So there you go on a face-off and even on our rotations in the end zone and trying to run some plays, they're not stuck in one position. We just want them to play."

After going 0-for-3 on Sunday night, the Rangers are now just 4-for-40 on the power play, which has them ahead of only Colorado in terms of success rate. It's been the team's biggest flaw this season, costing them games.

Tortorella said the coaching staff wants to allow the players to express themselves. The set plays are there for the team to work from, but if the players see something that might be more to their liking, they can try and capitalize. Captain Ryan Callahan has been the team's best scorer on the power play this year with two goals.

During Sunday night's victory, the system didn't work too well as the Rangers had just four shots on three chances. They had all four of those shots on the first power play before being blanked on the next two. In one of those power plays, Tampa Bay had some good short-handed opportunities.

"We're trying to let them explore," Tortorella said. "I think they understand the foundation, we just want them to play now because there's been so much scrutiny, so much talk, and really, quite a bit of coaching on it that I think it's gone too far the other way. We need to let them play."