To finish the regular season last year, the Blues finished 10th on the power play at 21.1%, and 9th on the PK at 81.5%. Two top ten special teams shouldn’t be an issue in the post season, but as play went on, they became a hinderance. One of the biggest strong points for the Blues by the season’s conclusion became one of their biggest question marks. Their PP effectiveness dropped off to 16.3%, and the PK dropped off to 75.4%.
What happened? Did the Bruins just get the Blues number? Did the team get tired as the long post-season continued? Yes.
But whatever the answer is, the Blues realized that the potential for this to carry over to the new season exists, especially with most of the roster that won the Cup returning. They hired Marc Savard in July specifically to fix the power play issues. His biggest concern was with how hard the team was gripping their sticks. He called their issues, in essence, a case of the yips.
The team has been playing a significantly more pass-focused power play; from the few games that fans have been able to see, it’s been evident that the team isn’t going to sit on the puck.
So far, the Blues are two for 12 on the power play, which is good a conversion rate of 16.7% and 11th in the league this post-season. They’ve defended 90.9% of their penalty kills so far, which has been outstanding.
The two for 12 on the PP could be better, but the Blues haven’t played with anything even resembling a regular season roster yet. They’re also only halfway through a very long pre-season schedule. As more players are sent to San Antonio, the coaches will get a better idea of what, if any adjustments need to be made.
The PK has been excellent, the PP could use some work, but there’s no use in worrying about it until the regular season starts. The guys who have been here are learning a new system, and the prospects are trying to figure out not just special teams systems but regular team systems as well.