Monday, October 24, 2011

Power Play Woes

If there has been one thing that has ailed the Wild this season, its been their power play. A promising opening night in that department (2/4), has since been drowned out by a horrid stretch of play while on the man advantage. In the 7 games since opening night, the Wild have gone 1 for 27 on the PP, including the 0 for 19 stretch they are currently under. The last time Minnesota got a tally on the man advantage, was Devin Setoguchi's goal in Ottawa. Clearly, something has to change on the team's PP unit.

The main concern for me, is that I have grown tired of watching a forward (Lately it has been Pierre-Marc Bouchard) sit on the point with the top line. PMB's performance on the Power Play has been simply abysmal. For proof of this, watch his PP shifts against Pittsburgh. But, there is a lack of scoring defenseman on the team, and it would appear that we will be seeing a forward on the PP blueline for most of the season (Unless the team acquires a defenseman that can score). It also creates a lack of punch on the second line of the PP when PMB sits on the point, and guys like Bulmer and Clutterbuck take his spot (Not exactly the offensive types). But, Mike Yeo has taken notice of PMB's performance, and as Russo points out today, it would appear he is going back to the second PP line, while Matt Cullen takes over on the point.

Another concern with the man advantage is still the lack of shots this team is taking. The Wild are still towards the bottom of the league in shots taken (27th-25.4 shots per game), despite their offensive upgrades this offseason. And as much as I like the quality of their shots, it would still be nice to see them take more shots, period. You never know what can happen when you fire one on net. Hopefully, Yeo feels the same way and sends them the message to start firing more frequently.

I know, there are still some growing pains going on with the new system of Yeo. So you would like to think that at some point, the power play (and the team for that matter) can take off. Perhaps Yeo would also try juggling his PP lines up a bit, much like he has with his regular top lines (Switching up PMB and Devin Setoguchi between lines 1 and 2), to see if he can spark his stale PP units.

This team is very capable of scoring, so you would like to think that that the power play can get out of its funk sooner rather than later. This team needs a strong power play to help the lack of scoring on the team, in general. Otherwise, if it stays like this, we are going to be in for a frustrating season once again.

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