A frustrated John Tortorella showered his beleaguered power play with F-bombs on Friday.
Why not? Nothing else has worked.
The Canucks’ power play has been a failure under assistant coach Glen Gulutzan’s guidance, with just 19 goals in 42 games and a 26th-overall ranking. For comparison, the Canucks scored 72 power play goals in 2010-11.
With numbers like that, change was inevitable. And so were the F-bombs.
“Can someone get in front of the net?” Tortorella screamed during Friday’s practice. “That’s the problem with our power play. We do all these nice passes and do F-all in the blue.”
Tortorella implored someone, anyone, to screen a goalie and tip a puck. His message was pretty clear: His team is not getting it done around the net.
“I think he’s (right), for sure,” Higgins said. “We’ve been saying the whole year, ‘Wow, we’re not getting any rebounds.’
“You have to be hungry around there. If it takes standing around there a little longer, you have to do it.”
That assignment should fall to Higgins in L.A. on Saturday. He ended up as the team’s net-front presence after a power-play shakeup.
Dan Hamhuis, who has been criticized for his lack of production on the first unit, was moved to the second unit.
Hamhuis’s spot on the point was taken by Daniel Sedin, flanked by Jason Garrison on Friday.
With Higgins stepping in front of the net, Ryan Kesler and his wrist shot were moved to the half boards.
“We shoot a lot, so it will be pretty easy what my job is,” Higgins said. “The shots get through, and I’ll get some opportunities in the front.”
It will be the first time Higgins plays this role for the Canucks’ best power play unit, but he did say he’s done it “quite a bit” during his career.
Back in 2007-08, Higgins scored 12 power-play goals with the Montreal Canadiens. He’s scored just three since, two of those for the Canucks.
At least the Canucks are finally trying some new looks. Since Alex Edler injured his knee a month ago, Hamhuis has piled up the power-play minutes, quarterbacking the team’s top unit.
He did not pile up points, and has just two man-advantage assists this season.
On the second unit, Hamhuis replaced Kevin Bieksa, who was killing penalties only on Friday.
Recent callup Frankie Corrado took some shifts with Hamhuis on that second unit.
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