Last month, we wrote about Detroit’s struggling power play — ranked 29th in the NHL at the time — and things haven’t gotten better since.
In fact, they’re worse.
The Red Wings now own the league’s worst PP, sitting dead last at 11.7 percent. They scored just two goals with the man advantage in all of December, and didn’t exactly flip the script with the calendar, going 0-for-3 in a Centennial Classic loss to the Leafs on Jan. 1.
Desperate times? Desperate measures. At Tuesday’s practice ahead of tonight’s game in Anaheim, the Red Wings put veteran grinder Steve Ott on a power play unit.
“Frustration doesn’t do anybody any good,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “What you can do is find ways to be successful. We look at every which way we can find ways to where we can be successful.”
“We don’t spend enough time in the zone and there are two reasons for that,” Blashill said. “We don’t retrieve enough pucks, so he (Ott) can certainly help with retrieving pucks, and the other is the break in. Those are two things we have to make sure we do a better job of.
Ott’s appeared in 33 games this year and, all told, received a grand total of 102 seconds of power play time. He also hasn’t scored a PPG since the ’13-14 campaign.
That said, if you go back far enough, the 34-year-old does have some history of power play success. He had eight PPGs in Dallas one season — granted, it was six years ago — and has carved out a reputation as a guy unafraid to do the dirty work, go to the greasy areas, and all the other hockey cliches you’ve come to know and love.
And really, Detroit needs to try virtually anything at this point. Their power play issues date all the way back to last year, when the club went an awful 1-for-25 in an opening-round playoff loss to Tampa Bay.