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Detroit Red Wings Giving Joe Veleno a Shot on the Power Play



Joe Veleno, Detroit Red Wings
Joe Veleno is getting his chance to play on the power play for the Detroit Red Wings

Joe Veleno is on the power play and Filip Zadina is off as coach Jeff Blashill continues to search for answers on how to improve it.

The Red Wings were 0-for-4 on the power play in a 5-1 loss to the Bruins. They are 0-for-13 on the power play in the last four games. Since Nov. 18, they are 4-for-36 with the man advantage.

Their power play percentage has slipped to 14.4%, dropping them to 31st place in the NHL statistics in that category.

Even when they were on a five-game winning streak at the end of November and early December, they only scored one power play goal in that span.

“Z has been like a lot of the rest of the players on the power,” Blashill said. “He has had moments of being good and too many moments of not being super effective. Otherwise, the power play percentage would be way better.”

Rookie Veleno is a bubble player at this stage of his career and he feels as if Blashill is giving him a shot to show what he can do. Like Zadina,  Joe Veleno is trying to prove he can score at the NHL level. Zadina has four goals in 32 games and Veleno has three in 17.

“I’ve got to make the most of it with the opportunity that they’re giving me and take advantage of every situation, every game, every day that I get to come to the rink,” Joe Veleno said. “Not give them a reason to not put me in the lineup or to send me back down. That’s ultimately up to me and my work ethic, my compete and my urgency. If I set my expectations high and I do those things and I come to the rink every day and I apply those things, I think my chances of sticking around will be pretty good.”

Blashill has been trying to get the Red Wings to produce quicker puck movement and get bodies to the net.

Not Easy Fixing Struggling Power Play

“I think it just comes down to outworking the penalty kill,” Veleno said. “We’ve got five guys on the ice and they’ve got four, so we gotta make sure that we’re working just as hard, if not harder than the penalty kill and having the same urgency and the mentality to be attacking the net and score a goal. Obviously special teams play a huge role in how the game goes.”

Trying to fix a struggling power play has always been tricky because good chemistry is essential, and it is difficult to create that if you are constantly tinkering with with the lineup

“You can get yourself in trouble if you change too much without a shadow of a doubt,” Blashill said.

But the Red Wings have to do something because they are not going to be able to compete with a 14.4% power play. They are currently in a battle to make the playoffs with the Boston Bruins. The Bruins are 11th (21.7%) in power play percentage.

Detroit’s power play was also poor last season. The Red Wings brought in assistant coach Alex Tanguay to help improve the power play this season. Blashill said the team’s zone entries and faceoffs are better this season. But the power play group has too many unforced errors.

“We’ve tried to be patient,” Blashill said.

But coaches are running out of patience because it is costing the team points in the standings. Two power play failures in the second period against the Bruins may have prompted today’s action. They didn’t even get a shot goal in those four minutes. They were only down a goal at the time.

“I can’t tell you there is a magic formula to it ,” Blashill said. “Hopefully, we will rely on the experience and make the decision that is best. But there is a balance. We don’t want guys thinking they are entitled to the power play but you can’t just whip guys on and off and expect to have success. We are giving some opportunities.”