NHL New York Rangers

New York Rangers’ Benoit Pouliot Needs To Stay Aggressive But Cannot Go Overboard

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Benoit Pouliot has had a very weird first season with the New York Rangers, to say the least. The first half of the season for Pouliot was just a complete nightmare.

I mean, not only was he not scoring goals, but every little thing looked like an insurmountable task. Just stick handling and controlling the puck was a huge issue for Pouliot, plus after a while, it looked as if he was not putting forth 100 percent effort in his game. It got so bad that Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault even scratched him from the team’s starting lineup, and fans were calling for him to be put on waivers.

These feelings would change in the second half of this season, however, as the coach’s message final sunk. Pouliot awoken and seemed like a completely different player. He finished the regular season with 15 goals and 21 assists, but if he would have played well from start to finish he could have had at least 5-10 more goals and assists.

Now in the postseason, in the first round against the Philadelphia Flyers, Pouliot is definitely showing effort, but his aggressiveness has gotten way out of control. In Game 3, even though the Rangers went on to win by a 4-1 score, Pouliot took two horrible penalties, a blatant cross check and hold, both of which were while the Rangers were on the power play, one of which led to a Flyers 4-on-4 goal. Plain and simple, those penalties are inexcusable and just cannot happen, especially in the playoffs.

I like Pouliot’s aggressiveness and the fact that he is showing effort, but he has to tone it down and not go overboard, or it could get to the point where he is a liability instead of an asset for the Rangers. If that becomes the case, Vigneault will be forced to make him a healthy scratch.

Steven Carollo is a New York Rangers and sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, add him on Facebook, connect with him on LinkedIn, and join his Google network.

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