Archive for Goaltending

Photo Credit: Lasik MD

Goaltending is a unique position within the hockey world.  It is wildly misunderstood and poorly analyzed. The industry as a whole seems to pass the buck to “goalie people” when seeking information or guidance about pretty much anything regarding the position.  This correlates to the way fans view the position, as well.  Coming from the perspective of someone who plays, studies and analyzes the nuances of the discipline, this can be quite frustrating.

One of the most egregiously misunderstood aspects is the psychology associated with manning the crease. It is a complicated relationship you have with just about everyone on the ice; from the head coach to your teammates, referees and fans.  From reading commentary -not only from this site, but from the larger media, in general- how a person feels about a goaltender’s role, value or behavior can vary greatly.  Read More→

Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
Comments (51)
Apr
27

Should the Rangers sign a UFA backup?

Posted by: | Comments (30)

Codie McLachlan/Getty Images North America

Last July, the Rangers reversed course with their backup goalie plan when they signed Ondrej Pavelec to a one-year deal.  Typically, Benoit Allaire has taken youngish goaltenders with upside remaining and helped them reach their potential.  That upside has brought serious production to the backup goaltender position.  With Pavelec, he was banking a guy who had NHL success being able to resurrect his career.  A little bit of a different plan.

The results were mixed. Overall, Pavelec was fine and had some downright fantastic games in blue.  However, injuries and long stretches where Alain Vigneault was not willing to play Pavelec somewhat derailed the original intention.  Late in the season, a youngster named Alexandar Georgiev had a short cameo, indicating he was ready to get a longer look in the NHL.

Read More→

Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (30)

alex georgiev

No, this isn’t a post about Henrik Lundqvist. So Hank haters need not apply. When the season started, though, the Rangers were set with Hank in net as the starter and Ondrej Pavelec as the backup. It was a risk, but it paid off as Pavelec –after a rough start– started to show that he was a fairly capable backup. If not for some odd obsession with starting Hank every effing game, Pavelec would have seen more action.

Then the knee injury happened, basically shutting him down for the season. Up came Alex Georgiev on February 9, who basically sat on the bench for a while before getting his first start on February 22. He got back-to-back starts, stopping 90 of 97 shots. It was an impressive debut on a team that bleeds gives out more shots than LMFAO.

Read More→

Categories : Goaltending
Comments (77)
Feb
23

First impressions of Alexandar Georgiev

Posted by: | Comments (33)

(Photo by David Kirouac/ Getty Images)

Last night, in an otherwise meaningless game, goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made his NHL debut, stopping 38 shots in an impressive performance.  The young Russian was originally an undrafted free agent who attended the Rangers prospect camp this past summer, after an impressive stint in the Finnish Liiga.  Georgiev didn’t come completely out of nowhere; he helped backstop Russia to a silver medal in the 2016 World Junior Championships.  So, what do the Rangers have in this young tender?  Let’s take a look. Read More→

Comments (33)

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Quite a bit has happened since I penned this piece back at the end of December about Henrik Lundqvist’s workload.  At the time, the Rangers were sitting in fourth place in the Metro division, with a semi-comfortable grasp on a playoff spot and only four points out of first place in the division.  They were sitting in the first wild card position, with a healthy Kevin Shattenkirk and Chris Kreider.  Lundqvist was on pace for 68 starts.

Since then, Shattenkirk has been knocked out of the lineup with a knee injury that required surgery (and basically every other defenseman, for that matter), Chris Kreider was diagnosed with a blood clot disorder that also required rib surgery.  The Rangers have plummeted in the standings and now sit in last place in the Metro.  Management has even come around, essentially preparing the fan base for a rebuild and writing a memo and holding a press conference signally that the team would be selling at the deadline.  Lundqvist is still on pace for 68 starts. Read More→

Categories : Goaltending
Comments (24)
Feb
02

Trading Lundqvist is a fool’s errand

Posted by: | Comments (94)

Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

With the possibility of the Rangers selling for the first time in forever coming more acutely possible, the focus from the fan base has understandably turned to hypothetical returns for the teams’ more attractive trade chips.  Naturally, the logical discussions (many of which have been examined in this space) involve Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Mats Zuccarello.  One target that a fairly vocal minority of the fan base has consistently brough up has been, oddly enough, Henrik Lundqvist.

Now, the reasons why Hank’s detractors (or trade advocates) feel moving the King would be a prudent move aren’t all that far-fetched.  He takes up a significant amount of cap space.  His overall performance has delayed a (probably necessary) rebuild longer than it should have taken.  The organization clearly wants to win as long as they have a generational talent on the roster, etc., etc.  These are valid opinions.

Read More→

Jan
12

Mid-season report card: the goalies

Posted by: | Comments (9)

Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Rangers went into this season with question marks surrounding both of their goaltenders.  Henrik Lundqvist was shaking off questions about an uncharacteristically poor season last year, and Ondrej Pavelec, Benoit Allaire’s latest pet project, had one foot out of the NHL.  There were good reasons for fans and pundits alike to be skeptical of the stability in the Ranger crease, especially with Lundqvist turning 36 this season and the ridiculously high-quality backup goaltenders the Rangers have had the past four years.

At the halfway mark of the season, it seems that many of those fears have been unfounded (mine included), as both goaltenders have been strong through the team’s first 42 games. Let’s a dig a little deeper at each of their respective performances, shall we?

Read More→

Comments (9)

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Last night, the Rangers fell in a shootout to the division rival NJ Devils, a game in which they were severely outplayed.  These things happen over the course of an 82-game season, chock it up to a bad performance and move on.  Unfortunately, this game was just another in a string of games that begins to show a developing pattern.  The macro is that the Rangers are surviving, if not thriving at the moment, in the face of all of current analytics than tend to predict success.

The micro is that Henrik Lundqvist is facing a massively heavy workload and is a huge reason why the Rangers are back in the playoff picture.

Read More→

Categories : Goaltending
Comments (20)
Dec
15

A difference in goaltending styles

Posted by: | Comments (6)

Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

So far this season, Henrik Lundqvist has received the bulk of the playing time for the Rangers.  Hank had played remarkably well considering the Rangers are currently dead last in the league in xGA/60 and 27th in the league in CF% (all stats per Corsica.hockey).  Alain Vigneault has leaned on Lundqvist heavily as the Blueshirts have tried to rebound from their putrid start to try to gain solid footing in the division race.  This adjustment has forced Ondrej Pavelec into a much lesser role than the organization originally intended, as they had hoped he would be a ~25 game backup.  So far, he has started only five games.

When the signing was originally announced, I wasn’t crazy about it.  Spoiled by four consecutive years of high-quality backup performances by Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta, I didn’t see the same level of success coming from Pavelec.  After all, Talbot and Raanta were both younger goaltenders hoping to take the next step in their development and be in a position to start.  With Pavelec, that ship had already sailed and he was looking to retain a roster spot in the NHL.  At 30, his style was what it was and had no real reason to make meaningful adjustments.

Read More→

Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
Comments (6)
Nov
03

Let’s talk about Hank

Posted by: | Comments (31)

NY Post

Things rarely happen in a vacuum.  Events, arcs and narratives have context.  A light switch doesn’t flip.  Change is mostly gradual.  Over the years, Henrik Lundqvist’s career has been, by and large, an upward trajectory.  He emerged on the scene in 2005 in the midst of a waste land of early 2000’s indulgence.  He represented a young, homegrown core player and quickly became a fan favorite.  It was only up from there.

He quickly went from young talent to superstar.  As a ridiculously handsome human being, his off-ice exposure went through the roof and he represented hope for the franchise for the first time in a decade.

Read More→

Categories : Goaltending
Comments (31)