How to Watch
Time: 5:00 PM ET
Place: Little Caesars Arena
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket, 1270 AM
Panthers Blog: Litter Box Cats
After playing Florida last night, the two teams are back at it again today, with a puck drop 2 hours earlier than usual.
I wasn’t able to watch much of last night’s game, but from what I did see Hirose looked really good. If you read my comments on the power play in yesterday’s gameday update, you would have recognized his movement on the power play at the beginning of the third period as exactly what I was talking about wanting to see. It was still too obviously being set up for the one-timer from Mantha, allowing Florida to cheat to that side, but that sequence was a step in the right direction.
In the post-game interview, Jeff Blashill was asked about the power play, and he instantly took away any confidence I had in the power play improving while he is head coach:
“Our power play hasn’t been good enough, and I think what is the definition of insanity – it’s doing the same thing over and over again,” Blashill said. “We felt like we’d try a couple other guys to give them an opportunity to see how they’d do. And when they weren’t getting it done, we went back to Larkin and Mantha to see what they’d do. Ultimately, power plays aren’t a whole bunch of schematics, it’s about going out and executing and making plays. Somebody has to step up and play better in those situations. If It’s Larks and Mantha, great. If it’s somebody else, great. I’m not sure how you find out if it’s somebody else if you don’t try other people.”
I’m still processing how terrible this quote is, but I lost my mind last night when I read this. Players can’t “go out their and make plays” if there aren’t clear “schematics.” I’m trying not to overreact, but this is indefensible. The problems with the power play don’t stem from having your best two offensive players on the ice. They stem from not having good, modern power play systems in place. You know, the coaches job.
At least I got to make this last night: