Fixing the Canadiens' powerplay

Derek Leung

The Montreal Canadiens power play is no good, terrible and needs to be fixed. Thankfully, fixing it with a team that has talent is pretty easy if the coaches stop trying to complicate it and simplify it to the extreme.

First of all, I come from a water polo background and I coached youth for four years. We ran a very simple power play that relied on four players being on the 2 metre line and 2 on the 5 metre line. It looked like a trapezoid. It was an incredible simple setup that was easy to coach and to play. The player on the left side on the 2 metre was the quaterback because they could give a strong side pass to every player. Think of a team with only one-timers available. Really easy stuff.

To fix the Habs power play, overload the top unit. Put Alex Galchenyuk on the half boards, Max Pacioretty in the high slot, Brendan Gallagher low slot, and have PK Subban and Andrei Markov available for one timers on the point. Galchenyuk quarterbacks. He probably should handle zone entries as well. Subban, Markov, and Pacioretty move around for one-timers. Galchenyuk's job is the hardest. He has to be seen as a duel threat so penalty killers cheat the pass or the shot. Goalies may do this as well. The other option is they take neither and leave him with a choice. This is what a good power play has, options for shots.

The second unit can be another unit that features talent above all. Lars Eller and Tomas Plekanec both deserve time, as does Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau. The defence should be Tom Gilbert and Nathan Beaulieu (who should never leave the lineup). Honestly, I do not know who goes where with these players, but overloading the power play with skilled players.

Overload the power play with players who can pass and shoot. Bet on talent winning out. Bet on simple tactics that can cause multiple looks for multiple players. Bet on players being able to make simple plays that require some skill versus crap plays that are 50-50 at best. Bet on the best players being able to make something out of a simple plan than having them make something out of a stupid plan.

Fixing the power play will do little for the Habs because it does not address the possession woes that have been plaguing the team since last year. It does take one weak point out of their problems and allows for more time to be spent on correcting the actual issues with the Montreal Canadiens. That issue may only be correctable by a coaching change because Michel Therrien is determined to fit a square peg into a round hole. It is not working.

Maybe a bad power play will only hasten the inevitable firing of Michel Therrien. But with playoffs expected, a good power play keeps that a possibility if the Habs win games off of it. It could be a lose-lose, but it would be somethings.

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