Last season, the Blues finished with a 24.3% power play effectiveness, good for third in the NHL. If you factor in this year’s power play, it drops to sixth in the league with a 22.7% effectiveness rate.
That isn’t bad, you might say. Three spots? Come on.
That’s a drop of three spots after four games played. This season so far, the Blues are humming along with a perfect zero percent effectiveness on the PP. The only other team who hasn’t scored with an extra man, but who have actually played, are the Anaheim Ducks.
What happened to give the Blues an 0-14 start on the special team that fans expected something out of? How can they average three and a half power play chances a game and not have anything to show for it? Do they need to start declining penalties?
That last question is a little hyperbolic, I know, and it’s asked in jest. I do think that the other ones are valid. The Blues are four games into a 56 game season, a season that is 26 games shorter than normal. There’s less time to gel when there are 52 fewer points up for grab.
The team is aware of your (and mine) Twitter complaining - more specifically, they’re aware of their own shortcomings, they’re disappointed, and they’re working to fix them.
#stlblues practice notes:— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) January 22, 2021
- Scandella, Clifford on the ice, back in their usual spots.
- PP1 is the same: Krug, O’Reilly, Schenn, Perron and Schwartz
- Kyrou skating on PP2 with Dunn, Bozak, Thomas and Hoffman
You may notice that those power play units have been tweaked from the start of the season, and now tweaked again to include Jordan Kyrou instead of Colton Parayko. This makes both units even with the number of forwards and defenseman, so one isn’t defensively lopsided. This also means that Parayko’s big shot is missing, but if you have a player playing like Kyrou (2G, 2A in 4 GP), you get him out there where you can. Newest coaching addition Jim Montgomery is trying to move the pieces around for a spark, and with zero goals on the season so far, what is there to lose by getting Kyrou in there?
If none of that works, head coach Craig Berube is just taking the fans’ best tactic and running with it:
It doesn’t work for fans, but I have a feeling the team will take it a little more to heart if it’s Chief doing it.
Saturday night is a good night for the Blues to put what they’ve been focusing on in these practices to use. The Los Angeles Kings, who finished second to last in the Pacific Division last year, are 12th on the PK and cough up an average of 30.3 shots against a game. They’re tops at short handed time on ice with almost nine minutes spent down a man on average, so the Blues will have plenty of opportunities to get the PP some practice if they don’t negate their own advantages (the Blues are 8th in that stat category, averaging 7.02 minutes a night down a player). If the Blues’ can continue their own PK’s strong performance from Wednesday, Saturday night could be one for the special teams to look forward to.