Finally the Columbus Blue Jackets have taken a substantial step to address their terrible power play unit.
Today the Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that they have hired Hall of Fame, Stanley Cup Champion Martin St. Louis as a special teams consultant. The former Calgary Flame, Tampa Bay Bolt and New York Ranger comes to Columbus as one of the better players of the 21st century.
St. Louis’ hire by general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was the team’s first real substantial move in addressing the power play this year. The personnel has been tweaked here and there but nothing to make a huge difference.
Bringing on St. Louis will at worst bring a fresh, highly respected voice to the room during special teams talks. The Columbus Blue Jackets power play has been horrendous this year and it’s hard to imagine it getting any worse so St. Louis’ hire can only been seen as a positive.
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The diminutive winger was told his whole life that he was too small to make it in the NHL. The University of Vermont graduate only went on to prove the whole world wrong, playing in 1134 games and scoring 1033 points. That includes 101 power play goals and 216 power play assist. The Jackets are hoping he can take some of that magic he had on the man advantage and teach it to the current team that is still only 28th in the league on the power play.
St. Louis notably played for John Tortorella in Tampa Bay for seven seasons including the 2004 Cup run. Torts has always loved St. Louis so much so that the Lightning and Blue Jackets made sure the retirement of Marty’s number occurred on the night the Jackets were in town and Torts was apart of the ceremony.
Regarding the hiring, Torts said,
Marty St. Louis made himself into a Hall of Fame player through sheer determination, hard work and a great understanding of how to play the game the right way. We’re still developing his role, but he has so much knowledge about our game and what it takes to be successful, both individually and within the team concept, that he’ll be a great asset to our players.
St. Louis also has coached and mentored Cam Atkinson and the two have a long relationship. St. Louis’ hire comes at a pivotal time when the Jackets are about to embark on a tough 34 game stretch to close the regular season and look to win their first playoff series in franchise history.
The only way that happens though is if the power play is even just a minor threat. Marty should help them get the power play to that level.