Despite my lobbying for a Hollywood ending for Marty St. Louis’s season with the Rangers, the script flipped and well, the movie itself ended in Hollywood when the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup.
The Rangers didn’t look like themselves against the Kings as they did in other series. The Kings just had that special gear.
So now the Bygone Bolts in St. Louis, Brad Richards, Benoit Pouliot and Dominic Moore have to sit and wonder about what if. But let’s look at what now for two of Tampa’s favorite sons.
What now for Brad Richards. The St. Louis-Richards reunion could be short lived. After seeing a resurgence in the playoffs when him and Marty started to click again, everything seemed to going back to the days of old. But when he started showing that he was getting old his name quickly resurfaced as a compliance buyout candidate again.
On Media Day before the finals, Richards’ future and past became a theme. Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo Sports detailed how refreshed Richards felt when Sather came to him last summer and said he wouldn’t be bought out that year:
Richards recommitted himself in the off-season. He went on a 12-week program of diet and exercise under trainer Ben Prentiss, who worked with his old Tampa Bay teammate and friend, Martin St-Louis. When he arrived at training camp, he had a clean slate. Teammates saw a difference in his legs and his attitude – a little quicker, more confident, more positive.
Still, his slow foot speed resurfaced in the playoffs at times and was glarring against the Kings. As fast as his runningmate Marty could pump those giant, short legs, it’s not enough.
Luc Robitaille was never the fastest player. In fact, he was famous for being a slow skater that somehow racked up points. Maybe Richards needs to see how he can be more effective at a slower speed instead of thinking that he has the speed that he used to. To that end, where ever he ends up, I wouldn’t put him on the point or the high sidewall on the power play. He couldn’t get to errant passes directed to him fast enough and the puck would quickly go the other way for a chance. Position Richards lower in the circle for both one-timers and to feed cross-crease passes. Give him room so he can set up behind the net.
I’d like to see him work with Dave Tippet and Mike Ribeiro again in Arizona and get to work with Mike Smith again in goal. He also has Shane Doan to lead the way and a great group of young players. His Tampa in New York reunion didn’t go as well as it should, but he might see a better result with a Dallas in Glendale reunion.
What now for Martin St. Louis. I’ve had to read over Tom Jones’ column a few times to let everything sink in with the comments by St. Louis. “Was anymore more loyal?” Probably not. Note how Jones said in his interview St. Louis asked that plenty of what he said would be off the record. Some of the background, not-for-attribution stuff made it in, confirming that his being left off Team Canada for a second time was the impetus of demand a trade when he did.
I understand what it’s like when you’re thinking about leaving a job, quitting your employer and looking to move, but you’re not quite sure. Then that one thing happens and you’re like, Oh yeah, it’s time to go. That’s what this is.
But let’s fast forward to next season because this is going to be rehashed in 2014-2015 about four more times. St. Louis will have to play against Tampa in the regular season, with two of those dates at home. I hope the schedule maker has a twisted sense of humor and makes the Tampa home opener against the Rangers. Fresh off the Cup loss, first game back in Tampa, first game of the year–DO IT.
Honestly, I’d be looking at his teammate and former Bolt Benoit Pouliot thinking what did this team do to not get that type of performance out of Pouliot? To be fair, Pouliot didn’t do much in four past seasons of playoff experience in his career. Just was a break-out year.
With Richards likely headed for a buyout, it’s time for Marty and Rick Nash to work together in the off season to see if they can click and if Marty can adjust to a different power play formation. Marty had looked lost for awhile not being in the low circle ready for a one-timer. Footage kept showing how he would feed players from there on the Rangers and lesser players couldn’t handle a pass or one-time. Rick Nash has that ability, and his sniper status desperately needs to be restored. The Rangers PP might as well use Coach Cooper’s formation for Marty to get the most points out of him and Nash to call it a day.