Archive for Henrik Lundqvist

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
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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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Jan
10

Henrik Lundqvist named a 2018 All Star

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Henrik Lundqvist will be the Rangers’ lone representative at the 2018 All Star Game, having been selected for a now fourth time (2009, 2011, 2012, 2018). Hank has single-handedly kept the Rangers relevant this season, being pummeled by shots all year and still posting a .924 SV%.

Hank also has a 19-10-4 record with a 2.54 GAA. His GAA is only that high because the team doesn’t play defense, ever. He is legitimately the only reason why the Rangers are in the playoff hunt this season. This is a well earned honor.

Categories : Awards
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Jan
05

Poll: the Rangers’ deadline approach

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(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

As the Rangers approach the half-way mark the season, they find themselves in an interesting spot.  They currently sit in the first wild-card spot, three points from dropping out of the playoff picture entirely, yet only four points from home ice advantage in the first round.  They have a soon-to-be 36 year-old franchise goaltender with more three seasons remaining on his contract at $8.5m per year.  They have several attractive soon-to-be UFA forwards on the roster in the form of Rick Nash and Michael Grabner.  They also have a surprising amount of young talent at the NHL level for a team that has been in full stop “go for it” mode for over a decade.

The team plays a counter-punching style, focusing on creating high-danger scoring chances, and relying on quality over quantity in the shots department.  This has created a difficult analysis in determining whether they actually have a sustainable profile as a contender.  There have been ups and downs in performance so, far, creating a “will the real New York Rangers please stand up” scenario over the season’s first half.  There are deployment issues and a fan base looking at a coach with a razor thin margin.  There is no question there are depth issues, personnel issues and coaching issues when determining whether this team is capable of making a run.

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(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.

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Categories : Goaltending
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Dec
15

A difference in goaltending styles

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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.

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Categories : Analysis, Goaltending
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henrik lundqvist

As the Rangers get deeper in the dog days of the hockey season, there’s been more and more attention paid to Henrik Lundqvist’s workload. He’s started 23 of 26 games already this season, and is on pace to start 72 games this year. The last time Hank started that many games was the 2009-2010 season.

As Hank ages, remember that he’s 35 already, he will need to get more rest so he can be fresh for any potential playoff run. It’s something that Alain Vigneault has been trying to accomplish for each of the past few seasons. So far, it seems that AV doesn’t have the same faith in Ondrej Pavelec that he’s had in his other backups.

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Categories : Players
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BRUCE BENNETT/GETTY IMAGES

In hockey, sometimes you lose games you should win, and others you win when you should lose.  The latter applies to the Rangers in yesterday’s afternoon tussle with the Vancouver Canucks.  The Rangers were awful in the first period, and only marginally better in the second and third.  They survived a frantic overtime and two shootout deficits before escaping with the win, their fourth in a row.

Henrik Lundqvist was brilliant again, and the Rangers made the most of the chances they were able to create.  It was a disjointed effort, rife with turnovers and sloppy defense.  It wasn’t all bad of course, as again the Rangers showcased their superior offensive talent and comeback ability.  The Rangers are a dangerous team when they have the puck, but they won’t be considered a serious contender until they improve defensively.  Read More→

Categories : Game Wrap-ups
Comments (41)

Being a fan of star-crossed team can be one of the cruelest forms of self-inflicted punishment. Only the most masochistic of us can envision an ending for our favorite team that most likely will lead to heartbreak, and yet exacerbate it with the hope that “maybe this year will be different”.

The Past

“History is written by the victors” – Winston Churchill (maybe)

For example, by Emmanuel Perry’s WAR metric from corsica.hockey, last year’s Washington Capitals were the 5th best team in terms of total WAR since 2010.  Despite the fact that last year’s Penguins were the top-ranked team in the same time frame, Washington outshot Pittsburgh by nearly 60 shots over the course of the seven-game series.

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Categories : Players
Comments (20)
Nov
03

Let’s talk about Hank

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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.

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Categories : Goaltending
Comments (31)