Johnny Boychuk to Return to the Isles Top Power Play Unit

By James McDermott

In the wake of the New York Islanders loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and with a tilt against those same Bolts forthcoming this evening, the Islanders are going to make some changes. One such change was tipped by coach Jack Capuano at the team’s practice yesterday:

The return to the first power play unit for Johnny Boychuk is a welcome sight for Isles fans. Boychuk was magnificent on the man advantage during the early stages of the season while filling in for Lubomir Visnovsky, the Isles lone defenseman on their top unit since his return from the injured reserve.

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  • Visnovsky, by any measurable statistic, is the far superior power play quarterback to Boychuk if you were to compare their careers, but when placed side by side this season, Boychuk has clearly been the more effective option at the point for the Islanders top power play unit. The Islanders have the 12th ranked power play in the league, clicking at 19.1%, a percentage that has plummeted since Visnovsky’s return; but in fairness it was at an unsustainably high rate very early in the season.

    Visnovsky has earned a reputation in the NHL as a power play specialist, 237 of his 479 career points have come on the power play, but this season his play on special teams has been mediocre. A colleague described the 38 year old’s work on the man advantage this season as “too cute”, as Viz has routinely tried to make the perfect play, rather than take what is given too him.

    There is absolutely nothing “cute” about Boychuk’s game. He is about as deliberate as they come. The Isles power play could use a more forceful decision maker at the back right now.

    The Isles have notched 13 power play goals this year, and Boychuk has been involved in 7 of them, registering 2 goals and 5 assists thus far with the man advantage (a total greater than the sum of his career for the Boston Bruins)