They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. In that sense, by replacing Dan Lacroix as assistant coach in charge of the man advantage with J.J. Daigneault, the Montreal Canadiens are at least on their way to fixing the power play.
Michel Therrien says JJ Daigneault is in charge of the #Habs PP this year, to be helped by Craig Ramsey. Dan Lacroix moves to the PK.
— Аrpon Basu (@ArponBasu) September 23, 2015
Can’t Get Worse
That’s of course if you consider replacing a one-time fringe NHL forward who scored 11 career goals (one on the PP) with a regular NHL defenseman, who scored more than 20 points just three times in a career spanning 17 years, a move in the right direction.
Truth be told, it pretty much can’t get worse after a 16.5 efficiency rate last regular season (23rd in the league) after Lacroix took over for the departing Gerard Gallant. It ranked 5.5 percent during the playoffs, scoring just twice.
On the plus side, consultant Craig Ramsay, who enjoyed a great deal of offensive success during his career as a left winger with the Buffalo Sabres, will help out. And it, very apparently, needs all the help it can get.
A Coaching Change
In all seriousness, this move is to be applauded.
While it’s perhaps not the coaching change many envisioned or hoped for, it is a coaching change, and a badly needed one at that. As alluded to earlier, it’s at least an acknowledgement there’s a problem. And, after trading for Zack Kassian and then signing Alexander Semin, the Habs have two shiny new weapons to deploy as they deem fit, meaning in theory the coaching change isn’t the only thing the Habs have done to improve the power play… that is assuming they get out there to begin with.
You never know with head coach Michel Therrien, a man who once played call-up Martin St. Pierre a forward-high 1:09 on the power play against the St. Louis Blues a few years ago. St. Pierre hasn’t played so much as an even-strength minute in the NHL since.
In any case, combined with the roster additions, this minute announcement may very well end up paying big dividends by the end of the season. Had the Canadiens managed just a median success rate of 18.8 percent during the last regular season, they would have scored approximately six more goals.
Put that way, considering the league-leading New York Rangers earned just three more points last season to the second-place Habs, is a potential Presidents’ Trophy really that out of the question?
It very well could be within reach, at least under the assumption (nay, hope) Lacroix learned something about killing penalties during the 379 minutes in 188 career games he spent in the box.
That’s something, right?
After 10 years of writing hockey, Ryan decided it was as good a time as any to actually join The Hockey Writers for the 2014-15 season. Having appeared as a guest on such programs as CBC Radio One’s Daybreak, Ryan has written for such publications as the Montreal Gazette and Bleacher Report and worked for the NHL itself and his hometown Montreal Canadiens. He currently covers the Habs for THW as a columnist.