Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rangers Alter Lines, Power Play In Search of Goals; Should Avery Be On Fourth Line?

News out of New York Rangers practice came down that when the team takes to the ice tomorrow there will be some changes to the lines and maybe more importantly the power play in an attempt to spark some offense.  Per Andrew Gross the lines were the following:


On the one hand it is not surprising to see coach Tortorella tinker with the lines when the team has only scored eight goals in six games this month, but also somewhat surprising because they are getting chances but lacking the finish.  At different points of the year both the pairs of Dubinsky, Anisimov and Stepan, Gaborik have shown chemistry and looking for a spark it is certainly not a bad way to go.  The Wolski, Stepan, Gaborik line features three immensely talented players who are all struggling to put up points right now, so maybe putting will ignite the fire we have been waiting for.

Along with the line changes there were changes made to the power play which has been atrocious this month going 1 for 18.  Derek Stepan is being taken off the point and Matt Gilroy will start to see more time on it as he will likely pair with Marc Staal on the man advantage.

These two personnel moves are a step in the right direction as Stepan has always been better suited to play down low on the wall and Gilroy has always been assumed as a potential power play quarterback.  Personnel is a problem on the power play and Brian Boyle still belongs out there to clog the goal mouth, but it is beyond just personnel at this point.  The team mentality on the power play is too passive for it to truly be a threat to the opposition.

Finally there has been a lot of consternation the last 24 hours over Sean Avery being sent back to the fourth line after three straight solid games and while I understand that Avery is a fan favorite it is the right move.  At this stage Avery is not better than anyone else in the top six or even the top nine on the Rangers forwards at this given moment.  That can certainly change, but for now Avery is where he belongs.