Archive for Henrik Lundqvist

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?

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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.

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Categories : Goaltending, Offseason
Comments (30)
Apr
20

First thoughts of the off-season

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www.themorningskate.com

Well, the off-season is officially upon us.  For the first time in years, we can watch playoff hockey stress free.  Kinda stinks.  There has been quite a bit of noise so far in Rangerland, between coaching rumors, exit interviews and an uncharacteristically vocal James Dolan.  As you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. First, I want to talk out the coaching rumors.  Dolan has seemingly cast a wide net of potential candidates, ranging from NCAA to NHL experience.  He has indicated they are keeping an open mind with regard to experience, prioritizing a certain skill set over a set resume.  This is a good thing.  If there is a clear direction within the organization about what type of mindset they are looking for behind the bench, the more likely they actually get it as they move through the interview process.  I know I felt a little baited and switched with AV.  I understand the hire based on where the team was at the time, but he was advertised as progressive coach who was going to use data to try and gain a competitive edge.  We all now know he turned out to be just another hockey man.  Hopefully, with a clear mandate, we actually get what the team is telling us they want. Read More→

Categories : Musings, Offseason
Comments (60)
Mar
09

Scattered Friday Thoughts

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Rangers were absolutely dismantled by Rangers-South the Tampa Bay Lightning in predictable fashion.  This was an ugly one to watch, as the Blueshirts were helpless to defend wave after wave of offensive attack.  No one said rebuilds were easy.  As we start to move towards the twilight of a lost season, I have some thoughts…

1. There has been a lot of talk about the most beneficial way to play the remainder of the season.  Logic would dictate that the Rangers should lose as many of the remaining games as possible and improve their odds of a higher draft pick.  Makes perfect sense.  The problem is the players on the ice will and should try to win.  You can’t throw games in professional sports.  The team on the ice is going to be outclassed most of the time, given the way the roster was gutted, and we can all root for losses.  Expecting professionals to go out there and throw in the towel isn’t something that should be on our radar.

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Categories : Musings
Comments (35)

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)

(JUSTIN TASCH/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

In case you missed it, yesterday saw some significant happenings in Rangerland.  First, the Rangers placed Brendan Smith on waivers and called up Neal Pionk.  Soon after, Jeff Gorton and Glen Sather showed up at practice and issued a joint statement about the future of the franchise.  There was a tepid (re: non-existent) endorsement about AV’s future and much Twitter ink spilled about what it all means.  As you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. If you read the memo that the Rangers organization released, a couple of things jump out. First, it seems the organization is trying to gauge fan reaction to the notion of a rebuild.  There is enough qualifying language and vague platitudes in the memo to reverse course if the reaction to the release was pure outrage at abandoning a season where they aren’t completely out of it.  Read More→

Comments (113)
Feb
02

Trading Lundqvist is a fool’s errand

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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.

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Jan
26

Tear it down

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(GENE J. PUSKAR/AP)

Even With last night’s win against the Sharks, the Rangers head into the All-Star break in a complete free fall.  We have all known for months that the process has sucked, and Henrik Lundqvist had been keeping the team afloat.  Well, now that Chris Kreider is hurt and a consistent rotation of random injuries keep hitting the roster, the team has had to bring up a carousel of AHL talent.  The goals are starting to dry up and Alain Vigneault’s “quality over quantity” system has stalled.

For the past several years, the deployment and systems philosophy had run contrary to our conventional understanding of hockey analytics, and the Rangers’ relative success had many analysts questioning whether the team existed between the lines of the current stats.  While it still might be a true statement, this years’ incarnation (which had apparent depth issues from the outset) has put any evanescent hopes of contention firmly out of reality. Read More→

Categories : Rants
Comments (87)
Jan
19

Random Friday Thoughts

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Photo credit: Julie Jacobson

With their nail biter win last night, the Rangers have now won two in a row and the process looks a lot better than it did a week ago, despite a rash of injuries.  The Blueshirts have four games remaining before the All-Star break, all against Western Conference opponents.  Should be an interesting week. Anyway, I have some thoughts…

1. It’s nice to see Rick Nash see some reward for his effort.  According to Matthew Barlowe (@matt_barlowe), Nash leads the Rangers in discrepancy between his iXG (expected goals) and actual goals.  The implication here is that Nash is snake bitten, which is certainly true, but I think there is also reality that he just simply isn’t the finisher that he used to be.  He still creates, as he is 26th in the league overall in iXG, and we are seeing some of that statistical correction this week, with four goals in his past two games.  This raises his season total to 13 on the season, which increases his pace to just over 23 goals for the season.  Obviously, not what you would expect for a $7.8 million cap hit, but this is still a very useful player the team should re-sign if the cost is reasonable.

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Categories : Uncategorized
Comments (16)
Jan
12

Mid-season report card: the goalies

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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?

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