Jan
20

The state of Henrik Lundqvist

January 20, 2017, by

Hank and his fugly new pads (Newsday)

One of the biggest hot button issues surrounding the Rangers this season, and especially during this recently slide has been the struggling Henrik Lundqvist (last night’s solid performance notwithstanding). Larry Brooks even wrote a click bait article (which I’m not going to link to) about the issues in the Ranger crease.

There is no question that Lundqvist has been sub par this season. By any available metric, his performance has been below average, and significantly so when compared to his career performance numbers. In a vacuum, a .902 save percentage is not acceptable for any NHL goaltender, but this is not any NHL goaltender we are talking about.

There is no point in recapping the brilliance that has been Henrik Lundqvist’s career. We all know that story. I think what fans are most interested in is the future performance of their franchise icon. With four more seasons left on his contract once this campaign expires, it is an understandable anxiety.

Since we can all agree that The King has struggled this season, the question moves on to “why” and “what does it mean”. There are several plausible causes for poor play from a goaltender, so let’s run through some of the possibilities.

First, it could just simply be a blip in performance. According to friend of the blog @RickNashTag, Hank has gone through several rough patches similar to this one in past seasons. Through the Dallas game, Hank has given up twenty goals in the previous four games. He gave up nineteen in four twice in 2008 and has given up similar numbers through various stretches of his career. This could just be a rough patch. Emphasis on rough.

Assuming that’s not the case and there is some systemic failure either in execution or decline, the first place to turn is the tire fire of a defense. There is no question Hank has been shaky and let in some uncharacteristically soft goals. However, on a large number of those goals, Hank has been hung completely out to dry. These types of structural breakdowns can certainly be an attributing factor.

Let’s assume for a second that 90% of the goals allowed this season have either been neutral hockey plays or goals that are purely Hank’s fault. Under this assumption, only 10% of the goals allowed can be directly attributable to poor defense (I’m pretty sure we can all agree this is a conservative estimate). If you take 10% of the goals Hank has allowed (8.5 goals from 85 total goals against), and use the adjusted number (78, rounding up) applied to Hank save percentage, his save percentage is right around .912. This is still far from Hank-like, or even acceptable, but it doesn’t paint the doom and gloom picture of the mainstream media using his current stats.

Now, it is impossible to factually quantify, other than a subjective visual assessment whose “fault” any given goal is, as many are an amalgamation of decisions of multiple players. However, given what literally everyone has observed of the defense so far this season, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that they bear a small amount of the blame for the Lundqvist’s putrid numbers on the year.

Before we get to the dreaded “D” word, I do watch to touch on the psychological aspect of the position. Just to be clear, I’ve never met Henrik Lundqvist and have no personal insight into his frame of mind. However, I can play arm chair psychologist by virtue of being a member of the goaltending fraternity and have experienced the types of frustrations that are really unique to goaltending.

We all know that for years Hank has been elevating mediocre teams into contention. After a decade plus of giving everything he has to the team, it may be starting to wear on him. Commenters have pointed out Hank’s body language after goals and draw the conclusion he has given up or is more interested in blaming the defense rather than putting forth a full effort.

I can attest from personal experience that feeling like you are putting in the work to create the best possible product on the ice, it can be immeasurably frustrating to feel like a mental error or an ill-advised decision on the part of your defenders can undo all that hard work. When you feel like you aren’t given a chance to stop a shot or have to stare down a three option play, it creates so much more frustration than a typical goal. At the end of the day, it’s all on you as a goaltender. Your teammates on the ice have a huge impact in your success or failure, but that is not what the box score says.

I’m not saying that the Hank’s psyche is the reason he is struggling, but it does play a part in how you approach a play and your overall confidence, so its impact cannot be completely dismissed.

Now onto the words that no Ranger fan really wants to hear: “is Lundqvist declining”? As Hank approaches age 35, the question will continue to grow louder and louder with every stretch of subpar play. It happened to Mariano Rivera every year like clockwork. No one escapes the call of father time. I think it would be hard enough to determine when full on decline had set in with a neutral blue line, but the defensive ineptitude has really muddied the waters. I really don’t think over the course of one offseason, Hank went from elite to barely an NHL goalie.

The challenge lies in his adjustments. No matter what, what he is doing right now isn’t working. He is jumpy on his skates and is opening up holes that never previously existed. Another friend of the blog, George Ays suggested that Hank’s reflexes may no longer allow him to play as deep in the net as he used to. That may be, it also might not be, but Hank needs to make an adjustment to get out of this funk.

Personally, I would suggest a back to basics approach. It’s time for Hank to recalibrate his approach to the game, stop trying to overcompensate for a faulty defense and simply control what you can control. If he stops the bleeding on low and medium danger shots, he can build his way into hedging against the more difficult ones. It may not be a perfect plan, but it’s a hell of a lot better than what he is showing on the ice currently.

The other possibility is to begin to adjust your crease depth incrementally and try to pick your spots to be more aggressive. It might be a slow transition, but the hedge against decline is going to be important, as well. Especially considering the time remaining on his contract.

With Antti Raanta still injured, Hank is going to play his way through this, one way or another. Let’s hope he can make some adjustments to find his form again. The good thing is he has plenty of time to turn the ship around.

"The state of Henrik Lundqvist", 4 out of 5 based on 9 ratings.

79 comments

  1. Leatherneck says:

    He has other issues, such as playing too deep….so his positioning is not and has not been good. All those acrobatic saves of past reflect that too. His puck handling is atrocious….his hockey IQ is sub par as well….he has never understood the concept of …hey I better freeze this puck…because I have tired players on the ice…
    His antics of heading the puck like a soccer player are getting old….who is he trying to impress? I also can say that he had great team defense in his past that skewed his numbers…so….no…I do not agree with giving him a pass or blaming the defense….with lundqvist getting the benefit of the doubt here….this is bias…. plain and simple….he has had his role in this just like everyone else
    Law of averages are just playing themselves out….on another note…I am a Ranger fan, not a player playing for the Rangers fan….I bet if Lundqvist got traded, half of his fans would bail with him to his new team…and those are his staunchest fans

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      How can you be so unappreciative of a decade of “elevating mediocre teams into contention” ?

      Renny, Tortarella, Vigneault …….

      Rosival, Redden, Kasparaitis, Poti, Tyutin, Del Zotto, Girardi, Staal, McDonagh, Stralman, Sauer, Yandle, McIlrath ……

      Quite the revolving door of personnel.

      Lundy’s SV% 2005 – Present (as traditional of a stat as you can get):
      0.922, 0.917, 0.912, 0.916, 0.921, 0.923, 0.930, 0.926, 0.920, 0.922, 0.920, 0.902

      I’m beyond baffled by your point of view.

      • Leatherneck says:

        That’s because you have blinders on…simple….I do not…he is your boy….so it is normal for you to defend him…as you have your opinion….so do I

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Defending him, I am not. I am responding to your assertion that “I also can say that he had great team defense in his past that skewed his numbers”.

          I laid out a revolving door of coaches and personnel during his tenure followed by a very consistent batch of save percentages that prior to this year only dipped below a .920 three out of eleven times. To me, this discredits your blanket statement quoted above. Yet I’m the one with blinders on?

          Anyone can scream “bias” but it doesn’t mean anything if the claim is empty. Resident psychologist paulronty would be the first to label this a classic case of ‘projection’.

        • pas44 says:

          Pass the Dutchie.

          Henrik made this team better every year he played, gimme a break, he is having a slump.

          unreal!

          he is HOF All World.

          “Rosival, Redden, Kasparaitis, Poti, Tyutin, Del Zotto, Girardi, Staal, McDonagh, Stralman, Sauer, Yandle, McIlrath ……”

          not one big time defenseman on this list.

          • Hatrick Swayze says:

            Lol…. that’s because I’ve left off Malik!

          • Ray says:

            Standards are kinda high. McDonagh has been in the Norris conversation. As stay at home guys go, Sauer was as good as they get. Many of these guys have had long careers.

            • pas44 says:

              No doubt, poor Sauer, he was special.

              I was just agreeing that Henrik has been and still may be the rock of this team, its sad to talk so low of him based off this string of bad games.

              but new yorkers are nuts. i am one so I know its true

      • Spozo says:

        Did a quick calculation to compare Lundqvist to some other greats as far as SV%. As far as standard deviation Hank beat out Brodeur, Roy, and Hasek as far as consistency for SV%. Those were the only guys I compared him too (I also only did until age 35 to keep it fair). The level of consistency this guy has shown throughout his career, and defensive personnel, and coaches is downright remarkable. Up until this half of a season it didn’t matter who was in front of this or who was behind the bench, he was concistent in stopping the puck at the same rate.

        For the record the #s I got were Hank: 0.0075, Brodeur: .0105, Hasek: 0.0151, Roy: 0.0130.

        • Hatrick Swayze says:

          Thanks, Spozo. I always enjoy looking at this stuff. Do you have what their mean numbers were too? Curious who averaged the highest numbers over their careers.

          One piece we’d be missing would be keeper vs field (or rel sv%) as goal rates changed during the varying tenures of the goalies.

          • Spozo says:

            Standard deviation is the only number I did. Honestly don’t have the time to get down and dirty with the numbers (thank my 7 month old). But yes, comparing SV% to the rest of the league would be very interesting.

            Sounds like a job for BSB!

          • Ray says:

            Save percentages have been going up.

            • Hatrick Swayze says:

              Right, so we’ll need to look at adjusted (rel) numbers.

              • Ray says:

                This is too hard to measure, but save percentages don’t tell the whole story. When I compared the last four years, I noticed that Hank faced two shots per game more than his backups. Obviously, save percentage is a better way to compare tenders on different teams since it neutralizes the team effects, but with the same team, extra shots are perhaps the tender’s fault? The two shots is about four standard deviations, so it shouldn’t be luck. Backups maybe face slightly easier competition, but probably that does not tell the whole story. There is likely a matter of extra rebounds OR poor puck handling OR the way the defense plays in front of different tenders. And I have no idea what the mix is, but only that save percentage may overrate Hank. [An extra shot a game offsets between .002 and .003 of save percentage.]

          • wwpd says:

            there is only one nhl goalie with as many rs games played who had a career sv% above hank (0.922 vs 0.920). some guy named dominik hasek.

            the other guys with higher stat have played fewer than half as many games as henrik. so relative numbers or no that is quite a body of work, when you consider that rask (0.924), schneider (0.923), and holtby (0.922) have only played 367, 305, and 280 games compared to hank’s 718.

        • Sieveqvist ! Sieveqvist ! Sieveqvist ! says:

          how about salary comparisons ?

      • Ray says:

        There is a point where “a decade of elevating mediocre teams into contention” becomes nauseating and it has gotten there for me. For Hank’s first half decade, he did just that. However, the Rangers are now and have been for some time a very good team. Yes, they are flawed, but so is everyone. The Hank worship has kept everyone else from getting their due.

        • wwpd says:

          I would respectfully disagree with this. the 2011-2015 rangers were carried by hank to varying degrees. as recently as last season, the way the team played they shouldn’t have even made the playoffs

          • Ray says:

            my point exactly. I know very well that there are lots of people who believe as you do. And you are entitled to believe such a thing since there is no conclusive either way. The problem is the insistence that your opinion is unquestioned fact. This annoys me and obviously annoys Leather even more so.

            Fact: In 2014, at the trade deadline, Lundqvist had a mediocre W-L record and Talbot was lights out. Replace Talbot’s actual numbers by Lundqvist level numbers and the Rangers are sitting out outside the top eight in the East. I don’t know what Sather does, but a smart GM deals Callahan to San Jose for draft choices and misses the playoffs, instead of going to the Finals.

            • Hatrick Swayze says:

              Ray, 2 things:

              1) I understand and agree with you that they’re is alot of work to be done with advanced statistics and that they can only be considered, or trusted to a varying degree. However, that doesn’t mean that they should be written off. It doesn’t have to eb an all or nothing thing. That said there are items which indicate Lundqvist is vitally important to the Rangers. The team gives up many high danger scoring chances against, which makes his job harder. He continually has strong goals saved above average numbers (which normalize goalies over all 30 different teams). These may not prove, but they do suggest that he is a majo component to our club.

              2) I think you’re in the extreme minority of thinking by preferring draft picks over a trip to the SCF. Clubs have a saying when it comes to the playoffs- get in and you never know what happens. If you can get into the Finals…… well, every GM there is would trade next years late first and second round picks for that chance.

              • Ray says:

                1) What advanced stats told us last year (see Justin’s ratings) is that Hank and Steve Mason were highly underrated. The numbers this year indicate anything but.

                Theoretically, I like the idea of advanced goalie stats. Comparing Hank with Brodeur using traditional stats is not rewarding – because the personnel and defensive styles of the teams were so different. But comparing Hank to Talbot or Raanta is much easier, because they live in the same world. And if the advanced stats tell you that they are living in different worlds, well, maybe they are bunk.

                2) I didn’t say that Sather should not have acquired MSL. What I said was that without Talbot, Sather approaches the trade deadline not with the idea of making his team better for the playoffs, but with the idea that the team was a long shot to make the playoffs at all. In most towns, the GM goes into seller mode at that point. Now maybe in NYC that is unacceptable and Sather makes a desperation trade for MSL in order to make the playoffs.

                What you have to imagine is a world in which the Rangers just have about ten fewer points in the standings on March 1st, which is where they would have been without the magnificent play of Mr. Talbot.
                And I’m sorry, but hearing the notion that Hank carried the Rangers that year makes me sick.

                BTW, I am not saying Talbot and Raanta are great. I am saying that Hank’s inability to outperform them suggests that Ranger success has a lot more to do with the 18 skaters than with the guy in the crease.

              • Hatrick Swayze says:

                No one claimed either stat to be predictive. Just like Hank’s save % last year is not predictive of his save % this year. The stats are meant to quantify what has happened. The stat is not flawed because a goalie played well last year and did not play well this year. Look at their advanced stats this year, and they’ll show you the two tenders are not playing well.

              • Ray says:

                Good stats change less year to year than less useful stats. If a mediocre goal tender (Mason) excels in a stat one year but not in the others and then returns to earth, the takeaway is that the stat is shaky.

              • Hatrick Swayze says:

                Advanced goalie metrics, like goalie metrics measure how the goalie performed over the time measured. He did a lot for Philly last year. It could be because Philly was a train wreck last year and he rose to the occasion. The stat is useless because he returned to earth this year.

                It isn’t meant to rank goaltenders in order of greatness. It exists to show us how a player performed over a time period. You cannot negate a statistic because Mason is not a consistent goaltender. I don’t know how else to say it.

              • Hatrick Swayze says:

                Sh1t…. read: the stat ISN’T useless because he returned to earth this yr. oops

              • Ray says:

                LIke goaltenders, stats are inconsistent. For the moment, consider team stats. Team +/- pretty much determines how well a team does. Corsi is viewed as a coincidental indicator; it does not measure excellence exactly but it parallels it. Now the theory is that Corsi is a much more consistent indicator. If you know team +/- over 20 games, you are less able to predict the next 20 games than you are with Corsi. Obviously, neither stat can be perfect as teams do change.

                Anyway, consistent stats are better, all else equal. Now, if advanced stats tell us that Steve Mason had a career year last year and traditional stats did not pick that up, then just maybe it did not happen.

        • John B says:

          You’re 100% right.

          Last year Hank elevated a mediocre team into the playoffs into the playoffs. So we’ll just go with last year where he was the best 5×5 goalie league wide.

    • Spozo says:

      You sound so bitter.

    • Chris A says:

      The criticism on the headers is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read.

      Hank using the mask to stop shots that are infinitely more difficult to get to with a shoulder shrug or windmilling glove hand is genius (and extremely brave), and something all goalies should adopt.

      Look at all the goalies that get beat around the shoulders and neck on shots. Note how they try and save those particular shots. Usually they move their face out of the way, creating a path for the puck to go straight into the net, and try to get a shoulder or glove hand where there face was.

      Go watch the Dec. 20th game against the Penguins. Puempel beat Murray with a weak 40 foot wrister on that exact play. All Murray had to do was not move his face and he would have stopped a goal. Instead he tried to contort himself into an odd position and he was beaten on a very weak shot.

      • Spozo says:

        Hank has stated that he heads the puck because he doesnt want to put his glove in front of his face and lose sight of the puck.

        Well at least Leather has backed off the “bad goals at bad times” argument and resorted to bashing a play that happens once every 20 games.

    • ANTHONY says:

      First things first I am not defending how he has played this year is has been subpar at best he has not been focused, his positioning has been poor this year as well, but that also has to do with confidence and what goalies like myself who actually played at a junior hockey level and college though d3 understands as fighting the puck. That’s what I see in he a goalie who is doubting his reads and not track the puck the way he should. Now for what you stupid ass said, you are completely wrong. His positioning while suffering right now is normally excellent which is why he was able to make so acrobatic saves you seem to hate. And as for he doesn’t understand the concept of stopping the puck to get tired guys off, what all the other times that he would fake a equipment problem to give the guys an extra second, sometimes its just not that easy to stop play do you want him to skate ten feet out and cover it cause that’s a penalty. Plan and simple you are one of those fan that never played the game once besides on the street with you friends and think you know everything about hockey and it so called concepts when really your just a fan that makes it out to worst than it is. The Rangers are still in fourth place in the best division and only 6 points back of first. So just stop alright keep negative Nancy to yourself.

  2. Hatrick Swayze says:

    I will enjoy watching our goalie work through this unique stretch of below mediocre play. It was an ugly first half but I am not convinced this is the new norm.

    Justin- thoughts on the Ranger’s methods of adjusting systems based on who is in the crease (ie fronting vs not fronting). Perhaps it is not to the team’s advantage to front when Lundy is in net. Obviously they’ve enjoyed tremendous success when not fronting, as the combined Talbot and Raanta record indicates over the past few seasons.

    To me, this tweak in strategy dovetails nicely with your suggestion of altering crease depth slightly along with other subtle mechanics adjustments.

    • Egelstein says:

      I’d really love to know who exactly is deciding net side vs. fronting. It very well seems it could be Hank since it was the case with both Torts and AV, and if so, he may have to come to terms that in recent years net side has worked splendidly for the backup group as a whole so may work for him. Not everyone is born with the freakish reaction capability and capacity for acrobatics that he had in his peak. Perhaps at 35 those things are (understandably) becoming more to average human being levels for him. Maybe our D as constituted can’t execute fronting as well as they used to as they age, also. If it’s Hank who is insisting on the fronting, I wish he’d at least try net side extensively in practice and/or against an offensively soft opponent for at least a game. It’s probably not coincidence that net side has led to less SA/60 for the backups each of the last four years except one – which was a slight difference – and by a wide margin in two of those years.

  3. SalMerc says:

    Maybe this has more to do with Benoit Allaire & Hank getting used to the new system Beuk has put in front of them AND the aging defenders. That combination is quite different than last year and sometimes takes time to adjust to. Hank is an old dog that doesn’t learn new tricks very well. The same might be said of Allaire. Add Holden, a slower Klein, a slower Girardi, no Staal, and a young kid named Skjei with a new zone system and maybe, just maybe you have a discombobulation in front of a goalie with a some cracked confidence that is showing some age.

    I am hoping this all gels nicely in the second half. Staal comes back, Hank and Allaire get some comfort and Klein and G-man get some rest. Maybe a fresh pair of legs join the squad as well. Like I mentioned before, I am a cup half-full guy.

  4. amy says:

    Hank played a sound game last night against the leafs which was good to see hopefully this continues

  5. Andy says:

    I have my concerns and they are growing every day. But he has had rough patches before. Living in So Cal I recall one such patch at the beginning of the 2013-14 season where they went on to make it to the SCF. They beat the Kings then got killed by the Sharks and the Ducks. having been at the Kings and Ducks games(Biron started vs the Sharks and it was the end of his career) But the Ducks game we lost 6-0 and it was pretty dam painful. In the LA area games Hank looked rattled and shaky, but he found his form. When I watched the Montreal and Dallas games last week that was the same Hank I remembered at the start of 2013-14. The D was not gelling either and the D was arguably better then. And after this spell it did not get much better for a few more games before the beat Minnesota before XMAS and went on the run the finals. But it got better.
    I missed the game last night. (I was busy watching The 3 Stooges attempt to fix a broken piece of glass in Anaheim which took 45 minutes) But certainly a better result. Here’s hoping it’s a turning point. Hank has carried this team for years and now the team needs to carry him a bit while he struggles.

  6. Leatherneck says:

    I find it peculiar also that if the team does well it’s Lundqvist and when the team does bad, it’s the rest of the team….and not Lundqvist…it has the appearance of bias to me….that’s quite funny

    • John B says:

      Think you’re confused.

      The team has done well since Henrik Lundqvist took over the net because of Henrik Lundqvist covering up and minimizing the poor play of the team around him.

      The team is not doing well now because their poor play is being exposed because Henrik Lundqvist is not covering up their poor play because he is having an off year.

      Just because you put a gold blanket over a dogs turd in your living room doesn’t make the turd disappear or not stink up your room. Once that rug goes away you’re left with a turd in your living room.

      • Egelstein says:

        Solid analogy, John. I haven’t seen any claims that Hank is just fine right now. We all know he’s struggling.

  7. Al Dugan says:

    Jeez…A Blue Seat Blogger complaining about an article written by someone by calling it “clickbait”. Can’t wait to read next week’s BSB about why trading Stephan is the right move and see the comments pile up!!! (Just running with you).

    Leatherneck makes an interesting point. Yes, it is bias. Yes, I would like to think and hope HL works thru all this. I’m biased because I want our guys to do good like last night. It felt to me as though it was a playoff game. And all this talk about Toronto having the edge in speed and youth, well, they still have Mike Hunwick playing meaningful minutes! NYR outclassed them last night, period.

    • Chris A says:

      I’d take Hunwick back in a minute right now. He’s certainly an upgrade over Klein. That first goal last night where Klein was covering air was terrible. Tipping the centering pass back to a wide open Bozak was just the icing on a cake made out of a terrible series of decisions Klein made.

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Yup… look at who we have playing “meaningful minutes”. Hell, look at who we have playing top pair minutes.

      • paulronty says:

        Funny but the previous two years Klein was the BSB darling, whilst I did advocate trading him while his value was high, which it isn’t now. I know I’m an outlier but I really don’t think much of Holden, who is having the same type of season Klein had before. People have been down on Staal, but I think he’s had a pretty good year. People tend to criticize D & goaltender more because their mistakes seem obviously. During intermission last night, O”neill was talking about the negligence of leaf forwards & absolving the D on a couple of goals. The Leafs remind me of the Rangers somewhat, always leaving the zone looking for the stretch pass & neglecting to back check.

        • Chris A says:

          The beauty of Klein is that he was a guy capable of playing some 2nd pair minutes while carrying a 3rd pair cap hit.

          Now, he can’t even hack 3rd pair minutes. At least when Girardi gets a sheltered role he looks like an effective defenseman. Klein has just looked lost this year from Day 1. Not sure if it’s a lack of confidence or a sharp decline in his mobility. He seems to be making the wrong decisions with the puck and wrong decisions on where to position himself in the D zone.

          • paulronty says:

            Klein played mostly with Staal last year & even with McD. This year he has played with Skjei. The latter has had some terrible games in his own end, especially when under a heavy forecheck. There could be many, many reasons for his decline, but the fact is that he was never as good as he was made out to be. The Ranger D as currently constituted needs a lot of help from the forwards. It’s even possible they’ll play a tighter defensive game in the playoffs & therefore be more successful. This team is all over the place & to me lacks leadership & the inability to impose it’s will on stronger opposition.

  8. matt says:

    “It happened to Mariano Rivera every year like clockwork. No one escapes the call of father time.”

    This is false. Mo was just phenomenal right to the end, his age 43 season. In fact, I think if Mo showed up to camp next month, I think he’d have at least 35 saves and a sub 3 era for the Yanks.

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      His point was that every year people were calling for or questioning the possibility of Mo’s decline- fans and talking heads alike. The “it” he is referring to is the question of ““is Lundqvist declining” Justin wasn’t saying Mariano showed any bit of decline.

    • Rastven says:

      Clearly you are forgetting Mo’s like clockwork late summer swoon where he’d be good for a blown save or 3, sometime back to backs.
      It happened, despite his greatness.

  9. joe719 says:

    A friend of mine was going on last night about how Lundqvist has never been the same since they changed the equipment rules for goalies. He says that since they shortened the length of the pads and changed the amount of shoulder pads, he contends, that Hank has suffered. I really have no info on this—I never paid too much attention to it. I’m not even sure if Lundqvist was forced to change his equipment to any substantial degree. Any insight on this would be helpful.

    • paulronty says:

      I believe Lundqvist is using lighter pads this year, but my guess is that his struggles are more mental than equipment related.

    • John B says:

      I would lean towards 100% false. If he’s referring to the 2013-2014 streamline of equipment it’s worth noting that he took them to the Cup finals that year. And had excellent seasons following. This is his first extended period of “un-Hank” like play

  10. Ray says:

    A few points Justin. You corrected his save percentage from .902 to .912. In fact, the .912 is even worse. One has to remember that every tender gets hung out to dry. You would have to adjust the norms as well. The question is whether he is hung out to dry more than most.

    I think we do know something about Hank’s psyche. We have seen him fall apart in the Olympics. I believe in 2010 he was phenomenal against Canada(?) in a game where his team was totally overwhelmed. But Canada did manage a goal or two and when he saw it was all slipping away, he stopped being unbelievable and he was just another tender.

    Bottom line: The Rangers are better with Talbot or Raanta than with Lundqvist and they have been for a long time. This is not about a slump. This needs to be acknowledged. It may be that the Rangers just play a better defensive style when Hank isn’t in there. If so, they need to play that way all the time and if Hank can’t adjust to that, the Rangers need to move on. I suspect he can. The man is stubborn, but he wants to succeed. [When the tire fire is only visible when one guy is in net, hmmm]

  11. 43 says:

    We’re just gonna have to see what happens. Maybe those new pads will make the difference.

  12. Richter1994 says:

    For all the “Raanta should play” unappreciative fans, 2 (facts) stats:

    Since December, Raanta has a .33 (that’s it!!) better save % than the King AND

    the King faces over 10% more high danger chances than Raanta.

    I’ll be here all week…

    • Ray says:

      Even accepting the notion that high danger scoring chances is a meaningful stat as calculated, bear in mind that defensively, it measures the ability of the six men on the ice to prevent these chances. It is not about five of the six men; it is about six men.

      • Richter1994 says:

        correct and the point is please do not say that the Rangers do not play differently in front of the respective goalies because they do.

        • Ray says:

          But it really does not matter. If Lundqvist want the Rangers to play a certain way and they feel they must oblige him and that way is terrible, you cannot divorce Lundqvist from the problem. You solve the problem by telling Lundqvist he is wrong and adjust the defense OR you get rid of him OR you continue to accept inferior results.

          OR you put your head in the sand and trade or buy out Girardi, Klein et al.

          Please note. I am not saying Hank can’t be better than Raanta or Talbot if he is used properly. I am just saying – as currently used – he isn’t.

          • Richter1994 says:

            I do not think that Lundqvist controls the absolutely horrid gaps and holes the defense creates during the games they play in front of him. They are gaps and holes I don’t see when the back up goalie plays.

            And to go further, when the Rangers played the Stars and Helberg was in, then they really played a different game. Of course they were nice and rested after the first 40 minutes of the game so maybe that had something to do with it.

            • Ray says:

              OK, so I will grant you that it isn’t Hank’s fault. The Deity simply intervenes and messes up the defense every time Hank plays. Even so, wouldn’t we be better off with a tender the Deity was not out to get.

              If his teammates won’t play well for him, what difference does it make?

              • Richter1994 says:

                I’m not saying at all that Hank does not get some blame, he does, no question. But there are stats that do prove that the Rangers play a much tighter defensive game when Hank is not in nets. It was proven when Talbot was here and now Raanta, that’s all.

              • Ray says:

                I tend to speak overly precisely, so be careful not to draw too many conclusions about what I think.

                It seems to me that the Ranger defense (including the tender) is a tire fire with Hank in net and is not a tire fire with Raanta in net.

                My conclusion is that the problem is not personnel in the defense corps, but rather something that happens when Hank plays.

                If I tried to diagnose the situation without knowing anything about Lundqvist, I would conclude that one of the following is true:

                1. Lundqvist himself is not contributing satisfactorily to easing the pressure.

                2. The team is just playing wrong when Hank is in there.

                3. Hank is a poor goalie.

                I agree with most people here that #3 is ridiculous.

              • Richter1994 says:

                ok, now I got what you’re saying Ray.

                My opinion is simply that the Rangers feel like they can be more complacent with Hank in nets because they feel like he will bail them out. I think it’s as simple as that.

              • Ray says:

                and it may be as simple as that. If it is, they need to fix it.

              • Richter1994 says:

                Agree Ray, and that’s where the coach is supposed to step in.

          • John B says:

            “Please note. I am not saying Hank can’t be better than Raanta or Talbot if he is used properly. I am just saying – as currently used – he isn’t.”

            I’ll say it for you. Henrik Lundqvist is a far superior goalie to Antti Raanta and Cam Talbot.

            I saved you the trouble. Nor would I put my head in the sand if the Rangers bought out Girardi and traded Klein. I’d throw a party that two of the worst 5×5 defenseman in the entire NHL were off the team and someone else was playing.

      • paulronty says:

        Actually it’s about 12 men because there is an interaction with another team.

  13. RangerFan says:

    Lundquist does face ridiculously good scoring chances way too many times in a game – more than most good teams

  14. John B says:

    Still waiting for some people on here to prove Hank is a minor league goalie.

    But we can’t let facts get in the way of a good lynching now can we.

    The people that hate Hank put “their heads in the sand” when shown stats that prove they’re wrong but accuse others of “putting their heads in the sand” for using facts to disprove their argument.

    In short, it’s a no win battle. To those of us who realize the following:
    1) yes Henrik Lundqvist is having an off year
    2) the NYR sport a six man defense unit for a large portion of the year that includes 3 of the worst 5×5 players on the blue line.

    Please let’s continue to be the voice of reason

    • Leatherneck says:

      here is a stat for you….he has always been out performed by another goalie in the playoffs….last year by a rookie….this stat outshines any other stat….enough said….as I said there are a few staunch Lundqvist fans here and in the hockey world that will blah blah blah….blah all you want

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        That rookie “out-performed” every team he faced. Or did the team in front of him outperform all the teams he faced?

        All you can do is tell us who a ‘good’ goalie is after the book is closed. Doesn’t really take much to do that. Furthermore, you’ll never differentiate good from lucky from beneficiary of outside factors.

      • Spozo says:

        Aren’t you always going to be outperformed by the other team unless you beat them? So unless they win the Stanley cup they are outperformed by someone.

      • Richter1994 says:

        seriously, tell me how the Rangers match up with: Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Letang.

        Do the Rangers have any player, and you can pick any player within the Ranger organization not named Lundqvist, that comes anywhere near those 4?

        Not to mention, and it seems like you didn’t watch one minute of the SCF last year, that the possession of the puck was all Pens last year? And to go further, if not for Murray that the series would have ended in 5 games or less?

        Does any of this matter? Or you’re just going to make comments like this anyway?

        • Sieveqvist ! Sieveqvist ! Sieveqvist ! says:

          If we had say another 3-4 million to spend yes , but 8.5 is killing us

      • John B says:

        “dqvist fans here and in the hockey world that will blah blah blah….blah all you want”

        The only thing your missing is waving your hands with your thumbs in your ear. Or folded arms and holding your breath pouting.

    • Spozo says:

      Don’t worry he can’t prove that. He just brings up another “stat” to show how horrible Hank is.

  15. Peter says:

    A lot of words flying around so let’s break it down: Yes, Hank has not been as good this year as he has been in the past. He has shown flashes of his great skills, but he has been wildly inconsistent. The team has been wildly inconsistent too.

    If the forwards backcheck and the defense plays like they did in Toronto most nights, Hank will be better too. It is pretty simple: with better defensive play by the team as a whole it will give Hank the chance to be Hank. If there is instead chaos in front if him constantly, he will not weather it well every night. The man is human, not a God.

  16. 43 says:

    Can y’all do an article about Vesey, I feel like he’s been a non-factor for a while now.

  17. Blueshirt says:

    As usual I love your stuff.
    Where/how is good ol’ George? the twins must be in college now 😉