Happy Friday, everyone! Be sure to stop by today at noon (actual noon this week, I promise) and we will get a nice pre-game chat in. Bring those questions 15 minutes before and we will get after it. See everyone this afternoon!
With his win over Ottawa on Tuesday night, Henrik Lundqvist passed Mike Richter for the Rangers’ all-time wins record. His 302nd career victory came on the heels of back-to-back disappointing losses, so this achievement was somewhat marginalized. It’s very difficult to take stock of history while you are in the middle of a somewhat frustrating playoff race.
Aside from the Rangers’ franchise record, Henrik moved into a tie with Turk Broda for 26th on the NHL all-time wins list. Just for some context, he is only one win behind Olaf Kolzig, and two behind Billy Smith before some separation sets in. In only eight-plus seasons, Hank has put himself in the discussion with current or projected hall of famers. This got me thinking about his overall career trajectory.
Happy Friday, BSB faithful. Today marks the return of the Friday Live Chat! Be sure to stop by at 11:45am to get your questions in the queue, and we will get started promptly at noon. Make sure to bring your questions about the deadline, the playoffs, line combo’s, Marty St. Louis, the mini-two game losing streak that has thrown Rangerland in to panic, whatever you folks want. See you at noon!
As I’ve been known to do sometimes, I’m going to ignore the work of my esteemed co-writers (in this case, Kevin) and offer my thoughts on a landmark day in Rangerland. So, if you’re not looking for more analysis of the Trade Deadline, tough. Read it any way. Here’s my thoughts on Wednesday’s trade deadline activity, mostly Cally, but other thoughts as well.
- As much as I want to be upset and nostalgic about Cally’s departure, I’ve been unable to muster it. After hearing Cally’s post-trade comments, coupled with the fact that when push came to shove he was unwilling to come down from his unrealistic (for any team but Buffalo) contract demands, it became all business for me.
- I was very encouraged by the first appearance by Marty St. Louis. He was aggressive, involved and looked very dangerous. He did appear to be trying a little too hard to bury one in his first appearance. I think he’s going to help balance out the Top-6 and give the team three dangerous looks to throw at opposition defense. Read more »
A little over a week ago, one of my go-to publications, InGoal Magazine, released an interesting article, entitled GSAA: An Essential Statistic for Evaluating Goaltenders, touting a new advanced metric for analyzing goaltending, called GSAA (Goals Saved Above Average). The author, Greg Balloch, does a nice job of breaking down the specific methodology that goes into determining how many goals a goaltender saves above the league-average. Here is Greg’s explanation of the mechanics from the article:
You take the league’s average save percentage and apply it to the amount of shots a particular goalie has faced. You get a number of goals that the average goalie in that league would have surrendered if they faced the same number of shots as the goaltender in question. That number gets compared to the number of goals surrendered by that goaltender, and a plus/minus is created. If a goalie is in the positive, that is how many goals they have saved compared to a league-average goalie. If they are in the negative, then it is safe to assume that they are performing worse than how a league-average goaltender would perform in the same situation.
This afternoon, at 12pm Eastern time, the United States will take on their bitter rivals to the north* for the chance at Olympic Gold on Sunday. After losing to the Canadians in the Gold Medal game in Vancouver (for the record, one of the best international hockey games ever played), I can only imagine the Americans are chomping at the bit for another chance at the Red, White and Black.
Since the Americans didn’t bother to show up to Nagano, Japan, where the NHL marked its Olympic debut, this modern rivalry really got started in Salt Lake City in 2002. Prior to his tragic passing, Herb Brooks lead an improbable US squad to what should have been a Gold medal (because destiny), but came up Silver to the Canadians.
This year’s Olympic competition sports a pool of goaltenders amongst the strongest we have seen since the NHL began participating in the games. The United States and Finland are especially deep, each with three goaltenders that could easily start for most nations. Although the tournament has already gotten underway, and we have seen some solid (Lundqvist, Hiller) performances and some sketchy (Rask, Halak) ones, let’s take a look at what each county’s best stopper has to offer. I realize there are going to be some changes made between the pipes as the tournament goes along and most teams have several starting caliber tendys, but I’m going to break down the ones who should be starting based on ability level and previous performance.
United States- Jonathan Quick
Why not start with the Red, White and Blue? Despite this being a Rangers’ blog, I have committed a significant amount of digital ink to the King’s world class netminder. Ryan Miller was dynamite in 2010 and deserves some ice in Sochi, but this is Quick’s team. The Americans will only go as far as he can carry them, and judging from some of his playoff performances, that could include the podium to accept the gold medal. His athleticism in this tournament is rivaled only by (ironically enough) the two Russian netminders. However, his technical skills, vision and positioning are lightyears ahead of the hosts. Read more »
Despite being Ben Scrivens’d (again) last night, the Rangers have been on quite a roll for past six weeks or so. Most will point to the terrible 5-3 loss to the Islanders on December 20th as the game that proved to be a turning point for the season. At that time, the Rangers were struggling to break .500, playing downright terrible defense, and saw fans calling for AV’s head. But most vexing was the play of Henrik Lundqvist.
Since that dark time, the Rangers have played much better hockey. The team went on 15-6-1 stretch of dominance, the system seems to have sunk in for the players in a meaningful way and the play of their King greatly improved. During the beginning of the season, we were all left scratching our heads at how the Henrik could look so mortal after another Vezina nominated (half) season. Some pointed to the new equipment restrictions, I was curious about his new super-lightweight Bauer pads, but he seems to have put it all to rest.