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Rangers run with stacked top power-play unit

Jan 17, 2013, 8:50 PM EDT

OTTAWA, CANADA - APRIL 18: Ryan Callahan #24 of the New York Rangers celebrates his first period goal with teammate Brad Richards #19 in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Ottawa Senators during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scotiabank Place on April 18, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images) Getty Images

Blessed with an enviable core of forwards, the New York Rangers have experimented with balancing their scoring lines when teams are at even strength.

It looks like they will take a different strategy when it comes to their top power-play unit, based on a Bergen Record report.

Rangers captain Ryan Callahan centered the unit during Thursday’s practice and was flanked by Marian Gaborik and Rick Nash. Brad Richards and Michael Del Zotto served as the points.

When it came to five-on-threes, Derek Stepan replaced the lone defenseman, Del Zotto. Nash also positioned his 6-foot-4, 213-pound frame closer to the net during that scenario.

“He’s a big body he can turn his back, and shield guys and get it back to the point or Gabby in the corner,” Richards said of Nash. “People who are going to jump him are going to think twice because he’s a big body and they don’t want to get caught out of position. We all know it’s only going to help.”

At least on paper, that potential group looks like it could be the most dangerous in the NHL.

The Rangers earned the first seed in the Eastern Conference last season, but they were near the bottom of the pack when it came to their power-play conversation rate. However, they did far better with the man advantage during the playoffs and the addition of Rick Nash gives them yet another weapon to work with.

  1. cameltoews - Jan 17, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Oh yeah. Lgr.

  2. dabutcha114 - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    We want the cup!

  3. capesouth - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    Well, on paper the Bs have the guys to get it done, too..but that only ever ends up mediocre at best. The PP is tough to gauge sometimes, until you see it in action.

  4. jaredo10 - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    i likely alot. Lets go Rangersss

  5. loinstache - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    on paper sedin sedin edler Kesler garrison sounds more potent with the added bonus of having experience with most of the core and having 2 d should things go awry. on paper of course.

    • bmscalise - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:40 PM

      Hypothetically, it sounds good. But Sid, Geno, Neal, Letang, and Kunitz sounds better.

      • loinstache - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:47 PM

        yeah can’t deny that

  6. stakex - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:31 PM

    I certainly wouldn’t bet against these guys being dangerous as all his this season. However its worth noting that on paper the Rangers should have had a dangerous PP last year but didn’t.

  7. sportsfan69 - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    I can’t wait for Saturday. Let’s play some hockey. Go Rangers!

  8. sjawesome - Jan 17, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    I would say on paper the rangers have the best power play unit in the NHL

  9. Troll_toll - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Let’s Go Rangers!!

  10. Stiller43 - Jan 18, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    On paper, the pens have:

    Crosby
    Malkin
    Neal
    Kunitz
    Letang

    Two of the best (if not the best) players in the world on your PP plus a 40 goal scorer who led the league in PP goals and a fantastic offensive D man in Letang…I’d say thats comparable, if not better…we’re talking on paper, however. Cant wait til saturday!!

  11. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jan 18, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Torts will be pushing all the right buttons, and this starting with the PP. Unlike Hitchcock in STL who wants to use 3 PP units. Gotta wonder how long this is going to last. Rangers to win the SC.

    • valoisvipers - Jan 18, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      I don’t know if Torts will be getting the most out of Nash if he plans on him doing the Thomas Holmstrom thing in front of the net. It’s not something that he has really done in the past, his 30+ goals are normally from good shots and not tip ins. Not saying it won’t work but a strange way to use a stud player for sure. I am also not sold on them winning the Cup, they are favorites for sure but the East is such a tough road to get through, if you get into a Flyer vs Pens type of round then the survivor normally gets picked off in the next round because there is nothing left in the tank. I also expect the Bruins and Sabres to make some noise this year. Going to be a fun time for sure. April 3rd is trade deadline day. Sure was a pile of people camped out early in front of the Bell Centre eh.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        You’re absolutely right about Nash. He’s more of a sniper than Holmstrom. But, do you remember Steve Shutt? He had soft hands in close and collected a slew of goals, and he’s smaller in stature. So, it could work if Nash is smart enough to keep his stick free and poised to pounce on rebounds.

      • valoisvipers - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

        Yeah Steve Shutt was the King of garbage goals for sure. Dam I can’t wait for the season to start. The shorten season will make every shift of every game count. You can’t fall behind and you can’t get injured or you will miss a beat and be out. The Panthers may already be out of it with their preseason problems.

  12. johnstone17 - Jan 18, 2013 at 6:23 AM

    Until I see it being effective, I don’t care whats on paper!

  13. magicrat13 - Jan 18, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    pointless to get into any discussion if this is the best pp unit in the league…

    bottom line, it is an impressive pp unit…

    rangers have been missing that “big guy” in front of the net….here’s hoping nash is that missing piece…

  14. banger60 - Jan 18, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    the cup or nothing, go Rangers!!!!

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