One of Rangers' top priorities is to improve their power play
GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- On paper, the Rangers' No. 1 power-play unit is impressive: snipers Rick Nash and Marian Gaborik, playmaker Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan stationed in front of the crease and Michael Del Zotto at the point.
"We like what we have out there. Just have to translate it into games," said Richards, who also was at the point as the Rangers practiced special-teams play for the first time in camp Thursday. "Hopefully we can get a good start Saturday night, bury a couple. It has to change; a little help on the power play during last year and in the playoffs, it probably would've helped us get a little further. So, it's got to be a focus for us."
The power play, which ranked 23rd in the league at 15.7 percent, was a major flaw in an uncut diamond of a season that ended in New Jersey in the Eastern Conference finals.
"We're trying to lay down foundations in breakouts and entries, then try to let them create," coach John Tortorella said. Nash, who averaged nine power-play goals per season in his career with Columbus, was positioned along the right side Thursday, replacing Derek Stepan, who was on last season's first unit. "He'll move around, he's an elite guy," Tortorella said. "We'll do quite a bit of video prior to a game on what we expect on their PK [penalty kill]."
Nash was down low on the right during the five-on-three, when Stepan subbed for Del Zotto. "Everyone on there has the ability to play anywhere," Nash said. "It's just a matter of where you are when things get set up . . . I thought it was good for the first time."
Gaborik, a right wing with a lefthanded shot, said playing on the left will be "a process, but I like to shoot from there." And this, Richards noted, wasn't a game. "You're not going to tee up one-timers against your teammates,'' he said. "We're a good night's sleep from getting on a plane to Boston for the opener."
Notes & quotes: RW Brandon Segal, summoned from Hartford as a spare, will skate with Mike Rupp and Jeff Halpern against the Bruins because Arron Asham is serving the final game of a suspension. Segal, 29, who has played 102 NHL games, "deserves a shot" based on his AHL play, Tortorella said, adding that he hopes it's "not one and done." . . . Stu Bickel will be the sixth defenseman . . . The Rangers completed the CBA-allowed buyout of the final two seasons on the contract of D Wade Redden, who becomes a UFA. The Rangers assume the reduced salary cap hits.