How To Fix It?
There is really no merit in armchair coaching, and I am in no way disillusioned to believe that I know more than the Head Coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, perhaps my favorite athlete of all-time. That being said, it would be irresponsible of me to criticize without first seeing the potential for a solution.
The ineffectiveness of the power play is not because of a lack of talent on this team, these players have proven that’s not the case considering how well they can play five on five. The roster has a multitude of players capable of burying the puck with regularity.
It’s not a coaching issue either; Brind’Amour has been a revelation in molding the play of this roster. Assistant Dean Chynoweth has produced maybe the most effective and dominant defense corps. in this years playoffs, and Jeff Daniels maintains his winning pedigree to help develop talent.
Many of us, however, can still predict what a Hurricanes power play looks like. The Defensemen try to gain space until they move into their 1-3-1 set which inevitably ends with a hard slap shot by another defensemen amidst one or two players screening the goalie; followed by players crashing for a rebound.
This has been widely ineffective this postseason, mostly because Goaltenders are swallowing these shots. The solution is not to simply abandon that option but by implementing the talented wingers on this team to a greater degree. when they enter their 1-3-1, the Defensemen need to get the puck to a winger on the half-wall and let them go to work.
Think about how confident Dougie Hamilton, Justin Faulk, and Jaccob Slavin are with their shot. This mentality needs to be shared by the likes of Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov. These players need to take the pass with the intent of either crashing the net, taking their shot, or dishing to a player on the opposite wing.
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Being confident and taking a chance at any portion of open net could help jump start this power play because of their skill. The talent on the wing is one of the most underrated aspects of this team, and maintaining the presence of big bodies like Jordan Staal, Micheal Ferland, and Nino Niederreiter could help with shots that don’t allow the goalie to fully square up.
Regardless of what approach Brind’Amour takes to solving this problem, there is no doubt that this is a problem. All postseason long the Hurricanes have been able to overlook their poor power play because of their dominant defense, and their discipline. Both of these qualities have, more or less, been neutralized by a highly skilled and veteran savvy Bruins team.
If we know anything about Rod Brind’Amour, we know that no challenge is to big. The first true test of his potential longevity as a head coach is addressing what has plagued this team for years.
But If anyone can do it, 17 can.
Question for CC Readers: How would you go about fixing the Carolina Hurricanes Power play?