That the Boston Bruins powerplay is not scoring is news to no one. Some of the issues with it are apparent, some are only implied. The issues vary from personnel as addressed in part yesterday to the mix of players on the ice. When the powerplay is at its worst, the powerplay poisons the Bruins. Worse, this same two minutes that is toxic to the Bruins gives their opponents a boost that is recognizable from miles away, even in the drunken stupor no few fans feel the urge to watch the Boston powerplay in.
For my money, David Krejci and Tomas Kaberle do not belong on the same powerplay unit, ever. On the powerplay the only difference between the two is that Kaberle is a left handed shot, and Krejci is a right handed shot. That’s it. Both are danglers and dazzlers, and both become highly predictable after watching them two or three games. I’ve watched the two of them spend thirty seconds sapping the strength from the team, and wasting zone time dancing around in the same three step box. A quarter of the power play wasted is inexcusable. The dangling is very useful if it allows someone to get into position for a shot, or pulls the defenders out of position. When combined these two spend too much time waiting, and defenders know neither of them is a likely shooter and don’t take the bait.
Ideally the two of them will be kept on different powerplay units. That or they need to shoot more, and make it apparent they are doing so. Bergeron is like Krejci a righty, and of the three the best defender. A unit constructed around Bergeron and Kaberle at the points, Ryder along one wall, Lucic or Chara as the net front presence, and Marchand as the other forward. I think, you could get good production out of: Bergeron, Kaberle, Marchand, Ryder, Lucic. With Bergeron you’ve got your best faceoff man who can then fade back to the point. In Marchand you’ve got one of the two or three fastest players on the team who might start in the second defensemans position and get into position on the wall quickly. Kaberle’s passing doesn’t need much explanation. Lucic and Ryder give you a huge body and a quick set of hands that combine for this year and last years top goal scorers.
The other unit is put together not quite by default, but uses still provides a different look, and at least two forwards who have played together at even strength extensively. Krejci along the wall. Horton would be along the crease, low slot and behind the net. Seguin on the opposite wall from Krejci, and high slot. Chara is a natural on one point. While the rebound problems of a 106 mph shot bouncing off a shin or stanchion are pretty apparent, using it once or twice quickly can’t be discounted, and you just can’t overlook the possible attrition of someone who blocks a slapper that hard in the wrong spot. Someone who gets out of the way slow enough to create a screen on their goalie is a benefit too. The last spot on the unit is possibly the toughest to fill. With the current defensive six pack you’ve got a couple viable options. First up is adding Seidenberg, he and Chara work well together for smothering opponents. The second is go with a fast, right handed shot which given who else is used in this and the other unit mostly leaves Peverley, or go with yet another booming shot in Boychuck. Another option on defense that would maximize speed is Ference who has seen some powerplay time. My unit would be: Chara, Krejci, Peverley, Seguin Horton.
True, with these two units you’re obliterating all four forward lines, but you can come out with McQuaid and Ference for a solid defensive pair, and put together reasonable forward unit if you start the powerplay with Bergeron unit by bringing him back out, his conditioning is probably the best of any forward on the team.