Chris Kreider will soul search this summer to unlock full potential
Chris Kreider is going to see a sports psychologist to unlock the beast inside. He knows he has to evolve into the star we all believes he is. There were instances this post season of just how dominant he can be. The issue? That beast was not visible in every game on every shift.
[su_quote cite=”Kreider via: Larry Brooks, NYPost” url=”http://www.northjersey.com/sports/hockey/nash-improved-but-rangers-need-more-1.1346950″]“I need to take the next step to become more confident and the kind of effective player that I’m counted upon being for this team and my teammates. It’s time for me to take the next step.”[/su_quote]
The 24 year old power forward in the making isn’t a playmaker. He is and should be an absolute force in the offensive zone and score goals. In the playoffs, he tallied 7 times making him the 2nd best NYR in the category, behind Derick Brassard (9G).
When the Rangers were just minutes from elimination in game 5 against Washington, he saved the season with a late goal. In game 6, he scored twice in the opening and closing minute of the first period. Those goals propelled the Rangers to victory and a game 7 they did not lose to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
Those two goals are what should be signature type plays from Kreider for the rest of his career. Using his size and speed to power a goal on a breakaway, then using that size to cash in a rebound. He has the physical tools to do it, but now he must break through mentally to be consistent.
Kreider recognizes this and told Larry Brooks his plans for the summer.
[su_quote cite=”Kreider via: Larry Brooks, NYPost” url=”http://www.northjersey.com/sports/hockey/nash-improved-but-rangers-need-more-1.1346950″]“I’m going to reach out to people and I have already reached out to people who I believe can help me improve and get to the level I want to reach,” Kreider said. “I’m going to work with a skills coach, I’m going to continue to work with my conditioning and skating instructor, I’m probably going to take some boxing lessons and I’m going to consult with a sports psychologist.”[/su_quote]
When it comes to hockey players and sports psychologists, this isn’t a new phenomena. Montreal’s Lars Eller raved about his sessions with Sylvain Guimond last year. “Confidence is the most important thing in sports. That changed my career, right there,” Eller told Sportsnet. “I knew there was something to be unlocked, that there was something holding me back somehow.”
Marc-Andre Fleury also saw one back in 2013. He told RDS, (via ProHockeyTalk) “It’s another tool. It’s something that can help you perform, so why not give it a try? I think it was an opportune time to meet with him (psychologist).”
The fact that Kreider recognizes he needs to unlock his potential is a HUGE step in the right direction. As the Rangers continue to face the cap crunch they need to find inexpensive answers already on the roster.
The Rangers were shutout twice in two crucial games in the ECF. In games 5 and 7, Krieder registered only 4 shots, 2 in each game. To be honest, in game 6 he recorded zero shots. Had Brassard, Rick Nash and J.T. Miller not exploded, Kreider would’ve been a key figure for that ineffective performance.
I’ve said it before, Chris Kreider has all the physical assets to be our version of Corey Perry. A power forward with 40 goals plus ability. His speed and strength make me believe he can be an even more dominating presence in the NHL. If Kreider can break through any mental barriers, NHL goalies will have more to fear than just him crashing into their net.