Shoot the puck. Go to the net. Screen the goalie. Bang in the rebounds.
The way Jason Spezza sees it, scoring on the power play really is simple.
“We’ve got to get a little bit more of a shooters’ mentality, make sure we have a body in front of the net,” said Spezza, talking about a woeful power play which has gone only 2-for-30 (6.7 per cent) in the past nine games. “That’s what we were doing well early. We have big guys in front and goalies can’t see pucks. It’s just about small tweaks here and there.”
Veteran defenceman Sergei Gonchar agrees.
“I think we got away from what made us successful, shooting the puck,” the Ottawa Senators veteran defenceman said of the team’s woeful 2-for-30 stretch (6.7 per cent) with the man advantage in the past nine games. “It seems like we’re not shooting as much and I think we’re going to come back and start doing it again.”
Funny how it goes. The Senators could do no wrong with the man advantage in the first dozen games, but after the ugly spell, it was back to basics time on the power play at practice Thursday.
The forward units stayed the same: Jason Spezza with Milan Michalek and Colin Greening and Stephane Da Costa with Nick Foligno and Daniel Alfredsson. Gonchar and Erik Karlsson worked with the first unit, while Filip Kuba and David Rundblad – who has been a healthy scratch during the road trip – were on the second unit. (It’s a normal practice position for Rundblad and doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be replacing Brian Lee on defence Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“We’ve got to get a little bit more of a shooters’ mentality, make sure we have a body in front of the net,” said Jason Spezza. That’s what we were doing well early. We have big guys in front and goalies can’t see pucks. It’s just about small tweaks here and there.”
According to coach Paul MacLean, a shot on net needn’t be a 150-kilometre slapshot.
“It doesn’t have to be a one-timer,” he said. “It could just be a wrister, just get the puck to the net. Usually when puck gets to the net that creates second and third opportunities.”
NEIL NOT PLAYING, BUT HE HAS REASON TO CELEBRATE: In the early going, Chris Neil was one of the big bodies willing to take punishment in front. While Neil briefly skated Wednesday as he tries to return from a high ankle sprain, that wasn’t the big news. Neil’s wife, Caitlin, gave birth to the couple’s third child on Tuesday: Finley Christian Neil. Finley weighed in at 7 pounds, 5 ounces and is a baby brother for Haley and Cole.
MR. KARLSSON JOINS THE WEB: After Erik Karlsson found himself leading all vote getters in All-Star Game balloting on Tuesday, his father in Sweden decided it was time to join the party and vote for his son to be in the starting lineup. “My Dad just got an email (Tuesday)” said the young Karlsson. “He never had one before. It took him 30 minutes to figure out how to get one, but he’s rolling now and he said he would try to get everybody to do the same thing (and vote). It’s a fun thing for him to do, and definitely helped him get a bit further in the technology.” Karlsson cautions that his lead might not last long. “It’s still early and (Sidney) Crosby scored twice (Monday), so he’s probably going to erase me pretty fast.”
SPEAKING OF CROSBY: “Sid the Kid, he’s like Stainless Steel,” said Zenon Konopka. “There’s not much rust off him.”