Ales Kotalik Proving to Be a Catalyst For Rangers' Power Play

Tonight's Healthy ScratchesCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2009

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 3: Milan Michalek #9 of the Ottawa Senators prepares to block a shot on goal by Ales Kotalik #12 of the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden on October 3, 2009 in New York City. The Rangers defeated the Senators 5-2. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)


One of the biggest question marks coming into this season for the New York Rangers, like it has been for several years, was the power play. After starting slow, going 0-for-9, through the first two games of the year, the Blushirt's power play has looked very impressive.

The Rangers have cashed in with the man-advantage in every game since being blanked to start the season. During this stretch, the Rangers have had four games with multi-goal performances on the power play, including tonight's 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

A lot of this success can be credited to winger Ales Kotalik.

Kotalik, who signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Rangers over the summer, has provided the Blushirts with an element they have been missing for quite some time—a quarterback for the power play.

Although during even-strength Kotalik has been dropped to the fourth line, due Sean Avery's return to the lineup, he has fit in smoothly running the power play from the back-end. His exceptional shot from the point and quick, yet effective, decision making has opened up the ice for other Rangers such as Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik to get into position for loose pucks and opportunities to score.

Coach John Tortorella's decision to use Kotalik rather than former power play "saviors" Wade Redden and Michal Rozsival has provided huge dividends for the team as Kotalik has been involved on 4-of-9 power play goals thus far.

Kotalik has 3G, two coming with the man-advantage, and 4A...two also stemming from the power play.