Looking at the last five games, there were two game the Coyotes truly deserved to lose. The first was the St. Louis Blues game. The Blues just have the Coyotes number this game. They could not get the power play working, could not stop Chris Stewart, and the rookie goalie Allen is looking at a Calder Cup type year. The second is the first Kings game. The Kings played a better game in all three phases. The Coyotes came in after playing in Columbus and continued their failure to score. It is one of those games you burn the video tape and go back to what you worked on previously. The conversation that needs to happen is regarding the secondary scoring. It is non-existant.
What kept the Coyotes in the playoff hunt the past three years was the secondary scoring. What kept the team going the past two years was Ray Whitney. Leading the team in points is hard to replace. What is even harder is how he saw the ice, moved the puck around, and put the players in the best chance to score. It did not matter if it was five on five or on the power play. If you were on the ice, you had to anticipate that he was going to get the puck to you for a scoring chance. His stick handling leading to the open pass is as good as anyone in hockey. He may not have the speed of a Stamkos or the hands of Datsyuk. What he has is vision and the most important thing in team sports. He made the players around him better. Steven Sullivan was brought in to fill that role. It is evident that Steve Sullivan is not the player the Coyotes need.
After 28 games played, he has 5 goals and 7 assists. Considered three of those goals came in one game, he truly has 2 goals in 27 games. 2 of his goals came on the power play. With the ice time he saw on the power play, this is unacceptable. 7 assists over the 28 games is one assist for every 4 games. You cannot be considered a playmaker with that stat line. Radim Vrbata, in 11 less games, has 1 less goal and 2 more assists. Vrbata is a sniper who puts the puck on net. When Hanzal is in front of the net, it is difficult for the goalie to see around him. Add in Hanzal’s good hands and quick stick, it is potent combination. With Sullivan playing on that line, the Coyotes were expecting more production. Last night, Sullivan got 12:20 of ice time 5×5 and 2:17 on the power play. He registered no shots for the night. 0 shots, 0 assists.
So what do you do with him? Bench him? Yes. While he is more talented that Paul Bissonnette, who is giving you more while on the ice? Sullivan does not hit, doesn’t drop the gloves after seeing his goalie get run or his Captain take a cheap shot knee-on-knee hit. Do you think Paul would have stopped until Edler was bloody and crying?