Patrick Kane’s start mirrors Marty St. Louis’ early Rangers woes


As for the Rangers, they continue their Ye Old Patrick Division Week with the Caps at the Garden on Tuesday before the Penguins hit Broadway for a Thursday-Saturday double feature.

1. There are the Blueshirts, fighting for third place in the division and trying to crest just before the playoffs, while looking for all the world like a team coming out of training camp in search of an identity.

2. When I watch Patrick Kane, whose game is as unrecognizable as the uniform he wears, I flash back to late March 2014 and a restless, distraught Marty St. Louis giving himself an elaborate face wash at the practice rink in Calgary. talking about Went scoreless through his first 13 games as a Ranger.

Changing colors after a lifetime isn’t as easy as switching to a new top. But Kane, distinctly low-key in his first 10 days in Blue, must stop being so different. Easier said than done for me at No. 88, most likely, but management didn’t move heaven and earth to get him here so Ken could be another guy in the chorus line.

Of course, reuniting Kane with Artemi Panarin was the way to go initially. Their connection gave the Rangers early impetus to make the move as well. But maybe there’s a good reason Streisand and Redford never tried to recreate the chemistry they had in “The Way We Were.”

Patrick Kane has been quiet on the ice in his first few days as a Ranger.

Martin St. Louis
Martin went scoreless in his first 13 games with the St. Louis Rangers.
Getty Images

PS: St. Louis recorded one goal in 19 regular-season games for the Blueshirts before changing the narrative in a run to the Cup Final. The goal was scored shorthanded.

3. Vladimir Tarasenko, who was the big fish pulled by GM Chris Drury for about 10 seconds, appeared to play his feet to the right of Mika Zibanejad. You don’t want to keep the veteran moving around.

But I think the Rangers’ most complete union would see Alexis Lafreniere on the left with Zibanejad in the middle and Kane on the right. You’ll have an agitating, forechecking, puck retriever who looks ready and eager to take on more responsibility on one side, a dominant playmaker and shooter in the middle on the other.

I would finally take a legitimate look at Panarin on the left wing with Filip Chytil alongside Tarasenko on the right. Chytil and Panarin have earned just six games as linemates, sharing 96:07 of five-on-five ice time through which the Rangers have scored seven goals and allowed three.

Then Chris Kreider, Vincent Trocheck and Kapo Kako form a straight-line, straight-forward unit with the ability to play smashmouth hockey and control the puck below the hash mark to soften up the opposition.

Here are the top nine I want to see this week … and next … and even the week after that. Stability is required here. It will take some time to give birth.

4. I’m not sure what exactly is going on with Adam Fox, but those “it’s the opposite of Adam” moments are happening at an alarming rate. The turnovers and flawed decisions — shockingly normal for humans — began about a week before trusted teammate Ryan Lindgren went down at the end of the Blueshirts’ western Canadian tour.

Adam Fox
Adam Fox has been struggling of late.

In the last 11 games, there have been 7 goals for the Foxes and 13 goals against. In the last five, it has been one for and seven against. Fatigue may be a factor. Perhaps there is a physical issue that is affecting No. 23’s game. Lindgren’s absence has clearly been one recently, even as temporary bunkmate Nico Mikkola had his best game as a Ranger on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

If anyone can make an excuse for the funk, it’s Fox, whose shoulders have always been broad enough to put his team on his back. Rangers, however, cannot afford to let this continue for too long.

5. The distribution of power-play time has been even as Gerard Gallant splits his personnel into a pair of co-equal branches of government with seven, five-to-four with 10 and 40-second gaps between IA and 1B. The advantages are spread, when the change begins. All well and good.

But when that means voluntarily putting Zibnejad and his one-timers on the bench for half-time, that’s where the flaws in all this tactical equity are exposed as overthinking.

6. Trocheck on Sunday in Pittsburgh — and for much of the past few weeks — is exactly the player the Rangers took as a Hurricane in the second round last year, and, therefore, targeted as a free agent.

Trocheck has invaluable bite, having not only denied Evgeni Malkin a comeback, but promoted one of the league’s historically dirtiest and whiniest stars. The more Gnostic it is, the more number 16 is in its essence.

On March 12, Vincent Trochak knocked Evgeni Malkin off his skates during the Rangers' win over the Penguins.
On March 12, during the Rangers’ loss to the Penguins, Vincent Trochak knocked Evgeni Malkin off his skates.

Rangers will need a lot more from everyone to survive the Eastern Gauntlet.

7. This is the part where I say the Rangers need more Jakub Trouba in them as opposed to more from Jakub Trouba, one of the NHL’s singular physical strengths.

8. Jimmy Vesey and Barkley Goodrow have been among the Rangers’ most consistently effective forwards almost all season playing in the lineup.

Now, with that duo paired with the speedy and growing Tyler Motte, the Blueshirts should have their best fourth line heading into the playoffs since 2014, when Brian Boyle and Derek Dorsett or Daniel Carcillo hit Dom Moore.

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