Hockey fans know the old joke about how clubs struggling on the power play should consider declining man-advantage situations.
Well, that’s what St. John’s IceCap’s head coach Keith McCambridge was talking about after a weekend two-game series against the Albany Devils at Mile One Stadium, but in this case, he wasn’t joking.
“In all honesty, the way the power play is going right now, I’d rather not have a power play , the way it’s not executing,” said McCambridge in post-game comments Saturday after the IceCaps went zero-for-eight with the man advantage in a 5-3 loss to the Devils.
St. John’s had gone without a power-play goal in four opportunities in a 4-3 shootout victory Friday. Those numbers leaves the IceCaps with just two power-play goals in their last 56 chances heading into another two-game home series, this time against the Hamilton Bulldogs tonight and Wednesday.
McCambridge’s frustrations were evident in the third period of Saturday’s game, when he used what could be seen as the team’s third and fourth lines on the power play.
Those units include one consisting of three youngsters — Carl Klingberg, Eric O’Dell and Ivan Telegin — and another that’s been widely described as an energy line, one which includes Ray Sawada, John Albert and Maxime Macenauer.
“That’s a statement,” answered McCambridge when asked about those particular choices in that situation.
“What they have — what the other two units don’t — is they have speed and they can retrieve pucks.
“Anytime you can’t get to the puck and get it back (to the point) again, you’re going to spend the whole time trying to set up.
“O’Dell’s line and Macenauer’s line were good, but the others were just sporadic.
“They have to expect put the puck in the net. From a coaching staff point of view, I’ve had enough of watching it and I’m going to put out the guys who make plays.”
McCambridge also spoke about the IceCaps’ struggle to win faceoffs, especially on special teams.
“When you don’t win faceoffs on the power play, you’re spending 20 seconds to try to get the puck back and setting up (in the offensive zone). On the penalty kill, you’re spending 35 or 40 seconds trying to get it out of your end.”
Hamilton Bulldogs (5-6-1-1)
at St. John’s IceCaps (7-8)
Games times: 7:30 tonight and Wednesday, at Mile One Centre
TV/radio/online: Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on Rogers TV, and both games will be broadcast on 930AM and online (stjohnsicecaps.com)
IceCaps’ leading scorers: Eric O’Dell (four goals), Alex Burmistrov (two goals) and Derek Meech (one goal) share the team’s points lead with seven. Maxime Macenauer and Zach Redmond (four goals apiece) and rookie Ivan Telegin (two goals) each have six points …
Bulldogs’ leading scorers: Rookie Brendan Gallagher and veteran Aaron Palushaj both have five goals and three assists. Blake Geoffrion (four goals), Gabriel Dumond (two goals), Michael Bournival and Darryl Boyce (one goal apiece) all have six points
Notable lockout assignments to Bulldogs: Palushaj appeared in 38 games for the parent Montreal Canadiens last season … Geoffrion made 13 starts in Montreal after being acquired in a trade with the Nashville Predators, a deal that involved Robert Slaney of Upper Island Cove (now playing in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League). Geoffrion is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a skull fracture in a game against the Syracuse Crunch Nov. 9. His father, Danny, a former Montreal forward, told CBC News doctors had to make several life-saving decisions after Blake Geoffrion was rushed to hospital. Surgeons had to remove a piece of skull and replace it with titanium … Mike Blunden appeared in 39 games for the Canadiens last season …
Bulldogs youngsters to watch: The Canadiens are high on Gallagher, the 147th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, despite his size (5-9) … Nathan Beaulieu, a member of the national junior team last season and the 17th overall pick in the 2011 draft, is also high on the Canadiens’ depth chart. Beaulieu has yet to score a goal this season. He was scratched in a 6-1 loss to the Toronto Marlies Saturday night in Toronto … The Canadiens also like Jarred Tinordi, the 22nd overall pick in the 2010 draft the son of former NHLer Mark Tinordi …
Notes: The IceCaps will start Eddie Pasquale tonight in goal, the first time in four games Pasquale (2-6, 3.05 GAA) has gotten the nod … The Bulldogs and Toronto Marlies are the only teams from the Western Conference the IceCaps will play this season … Hamilton limps into St. John’s on a four-game losing streak in starts away from Copps Coliseum, the Bulldogs’ home rink. The Bulldogs plays six of their next seven games and 10 of their next 12 starts on the road …