Even when the Rangers were struggling earlier this season, the power play could be counted on as they’ve been in the top 10 virtually the entire year.
However, since the Olympic break they’re in a 4-for-32 funk including 2-for-24 with the extra man since the Martin St. Louis trade.
Most Rangers fans, myself included, expected the Blueshirts power play to rev back up with the St. Louis acquisition, however, it’s been the complete opposite as the man advantage has regressed to Mike Sullivan territory.
Obviously, a lot of the struggles have to do with the former Lightning captain still trying to find a comfort level with his new teammates and them with him. But according to Alain Vigneault and Scott Arniel, the problem could be more than that. Here’s Vigneault…
“(St. Louis) is real comfortable (along the half wall). The difference between the setups that we use and the setups that he’s used to is that he’s used to a lot of right-handed shots. And we don’t have many on our team. So that complicates things a little bit. But we tried a couple of things yesterday in practice and we’ll see how it works out tonight.”
Assistant coach Scott Arniel, who is in charge of the power play, added this…
“The hard part is in Tampa he always had right-handed shots when he gets setup on the off side. He’s a great passer as well as a scorer and the right-handed shots really compliment him. We’re a team of all lefties, so that’s why we’ve tried to bring Stepan over and put him in the middle of the ice so he has a righty. We’re trying to bring some of that familiarity he’s had over the years.”
…this situation could really give us some insight into why super star players such as St. Louis, Nash, Drury and Gomez struggle when they arrive on Broadway. When with their former team, the organization builds around them by acquiring players who complement their game, so when they arrive in New York they’re like a fish out of water as neither the system nor the personnel set them up for success. For some reason, when Sather and his minions evaluate players for a trade or free agency these are factors that they either completely overlook or grossly under-value. Listen, I get that you want to jump at the opportunity to obtain a player with the skill set of St. Louis, but shouldn’t somebody have noticed that throughout his career he’s succeeded with a righty dominated power power and that the Rangers extra man units and lineup are chock full of lefties? It’s the same thing with Drury. If you followed his career, you knew that his 35 goal seasons in Buffalo were a product of the system he was playing in, not his skill set. So unless the Rangers were going to implement that system, obtaining him at the exorbitant price given is completely foolish.
…but I digress, at least the Rangers coaching staff was able to identify the problem and seem to be making the proper adjustments to hopefully get him comfortable and back to being the prolific goal scorer he is. Let’s just hope it’s not too late.