Submitted by Ken on October 6, 2006 - 20:45
I myself like many of us am not a fan of our umbrella power play offense. I'm guessing that Tort's and Rammer don't much care for it either. Why use it then? Let's look at our Big 4. Richards mans the point and is not a down low in-front-of-net physical player in 5 on 5 situations either. Boyle is a smallish defenseman with good mobility - not Kubina who was large and willing to try to go to the front of the net. St. Louis - kinda like a baseline player in basketball. Hangs on the goal line, is good at the sharp angle shot and the cross ice pass, but not an inside guy. Vinny? In the playoffs in the Montreal forum - he's a down-low "Give me the damn puck" kind of a guy. At any other venue and in any non-playoff situation he aspires to be a point man. Craig is doing well and may turn ouy to be special, but the one place I really feel the loss of R2 affects us is right here. When he had time with the umbrella guys, the goalie didn't have much opportunity to see what's going on out there.
Tort's and Rammer appear to be using what they feel is the best system to match the abilities of their best 4 players to be on the ice at the same time. Pete's 5 question column yesterday is accurate. Craig's work will really be the key. The reason I feel this way is that I rarely see three guys hanging outside in the umbrella when the full second unit is on the ice.
From the fan's stand point our organization has the great pleasure of being associated with Esposito, Andreychuk, and Ciccarelli, three of the 4 or 5 best ever to muck it up in front of the net. If Craig plays to those standards, we'll probably all quiet down about the umbrella. If we don't play the umbrella we'll question why we don't ice our best guys in that situation. Vinny simply won't do what he's needed to do in any other set-up.