It was interesting to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins’ power play in action last night. All the big boys on the ice at the same time. Crosby, Malkin, Kessel etc.
Is it any wonder they are the top ranked power play in the NHL.
And then there’s the mediocre Toronto Maple Leafs power play, currently ranked 18th, and coach Mike Babcock’s insistence on having two units that split the potential firepower in half.
Even worse, the team’s top sniper Auston Matthews is relegated to the second unit. Yes, the Bozak, Marner, Van Riemsdyk and Kadri gang did a great job last year during man advantage situations. But that was last year. Things aren’t clicking quite the same this year.
And even though that unit is outperforming the Matthews unit this year, it doesn’t change the fact that Babcock flat out refuses to put his best five on the ice at the same time.
Toronto is not only blessed with an elite sniper in Matthews, they also have one of the most gifted playmakers in the league in Mitch “Eyes In The Back Of His Head” Marner. And yet, that tandem is never employed at the same time on the power play.
Maybe it won’t help. But then again, maybe it will. The problem with Babcock is that he has never tried to find out.
Which has more to do with Babcock’s stubborn power play versus the media, than the Maple Leafs’ power play on the ice.