Power-play juggling act
The Detroit Red Wings are blessed with enough offensive talent that fitting everyone in on the power play becomes a juggling act. Forwards such as Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa and Tomas Holmstrom have been first-unit power play players for the past few years. But with three forward spots per power-play unit, how does everyone get enough ice time?
"You don't," said Detroit coach Mike Babcock.
The solution is this -- keep the first two forward lines intact as the forwards for the first two power-play units, keep the lines' ice time to a minimum and let competition determine everything.
Datsyuk, Holmstrom and Hossa will form one power-play forward line with Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski at defense. Zetterberg, Jiri Hudler and Johan Franzen will be the other unit with Niklas Kronwall and Mikael Samuelsson on the blue line.
That leaves players like Dan Cleary and Valtteri Filppula out of the man-advantage mix, at least for now.
"I made it very clear in our power play meeting today that when the puck gets dumped down the ice after 45 seconds, you're off," said Babcock. "The group that goes first is the group that's doing the best. There's competition for that ice time. They all know that. Dan Cleary and Filppula aren't on the power play … they're very good power-play guys. We'll see how things shake out. You bring it and you get to go out some more. You don't, someone else will go out for you."
Very similar to Babcock's complaint in the Stanley Cup final that the power-play units were trying to do too much, making their shifts too long. Get the stopwatch out tonight.