The plan for this lock-out shortened season was to be able to keep Hank in a rhythm, but to also make sure he was well rested for what should be a long playoff run. As we all know, things rarely go according to plan, and the Rangers ended up using Henrik for 43 of the 48 regular season games this year. We projected at the beginning of the campaign that Marty Biron should start about 12 games in order to give Hank the appropriate amount of rest. He played in 5.
This was the result of inconsistent production, down years for key offensive players, a lack of depth, and no training camp when almost half of last year’s forward crop turned over. With a playoff spot requiring almost every regular season game to lock up, playing Biron was a luxury the Blueshirts couldn’t afford. Let’s see how the keepers’ performances grade out this season… Read more »
As the feeling of shock lifts from the Ranger fan community, we’ve begun to examine some possible replacements for coach John Tortorella. The new man behind the bench will be the story of the offseason, but the departure of Tortorella could also have an impact on many other important decisions the franchise will make.
Henrik Lundqvist will sign a contract extension
I still believe that The King’s comments on Monday were harmless, but many Rangers fans panicked over Lundqvist’s hesitation to commit to New York long term. To me, Lundqvist was only being smart before negotiating what should be his final NHL contract, one that will put a massive dent in New York’s payroll going forward. Nevertheless, there have been some clues that Lundqvist was less than thrilled with Tortorella. With the ornery general out of the way, no amount of money or years should be an obstacle in locking up Hank for the next eight years. Firing Tortorella was a strong message to Lundqvist and others that New York recognizes its window won’t be open indefinitely and that there’s a sense of urgency every year to bring home the Cup. Expect Lundqvist to ink a new pact this summer. Read more »
After a frustrating end to the Rangers’ season in Boston several days ago, the voracious New York media was bestowed with the “We’ll see” heard round the world. Henrik Lundqvist’s non-committal response to his future in New York almost imploded the entire hockey media. Articles were written, page hits were had, and ad revenue rained down on media outlets. Many observers and analysts alike feel that the King possibly moving kingdoms was the impetus for John Tortorella’s unceremonious dismissal on Wednesday. Obviously, I’m not behind the New York Ranger curtain, so I couldn’t tell you with any certainty whether this is true, but I can dig a little deeper into those comments and see if the “threat” is credible in this case.
For those who missed it (and I’m paraphrasing), when asked about his long term future with the team, Hank responded with the functional equivalent of “we’ll see, I need to talk to my agent”. Normally, this is a very typical response from a player when asked about his contract, but considering Hank’s importance and impact on the franchise, his remarks were bound to cause a stir. Read more »
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The Rangers were able to keep their season going/salvage some dignity last night with a dramatic OT win over the Bruins at MSG. My sister-in-law, who is an ER nurse, was working last night and catching bits and pieces of the game on a hospital TV. Between the third period and OT, she posted on Facebook, “Ok Rangers, I kept my patient alive, you can keep this game alive!”. It was a nice microcosm of the attitude of Ranger fandom, and her defiant faith was rewarded. The Blueshirts still have quite the task ahead, but as they say, “one game at a time”. Since we are heading back to Boston tomorrow, I thought I’d share some thoughts about the game and series in general…
- Henrik Lundqvist was stellar again last night. The funny thing about The King in this series is that he gets blasted for Game 2 (simply due to the number of goals allowed), but I thought he was hung out to dry big time in that game. For me, if the Rangers fall say, one game short, the missed opportunity will have been Game 1. Both of the regulation goals in that game were stoppable, and the complexion of this series could have been very different going to New York.
- As Ranger fans, we tend to focus on our team’s shortcomings in the event of failure. Let’s not forget in this instance, the Boston Bruins are a very good team. They can roll four lines for 60 minutes and have plenty of system depth. We didn’t have a Torey Krug or Matt Bartkowski to slot into the lineup when Marc Staal got hurt. Many fans are going to lament the teams goal scoring woes, and seek to bolster the offense in the offseason, but I think quality depth is the number one priority at this stage. Read more »
Update 12:00pm: Per Andrew Gross, Hank is on the ice for practice. False alarm.
Original Post: On the postgame show last night, it was mentioned that Henrik Lundqvist would have his shoulder looked at today to ensure everything is ok. Hank took a Danielle Paille shot off his shoulder late in yesterday’s 5-2 loss, and remained down on the ice for a short period of time. Hank stayed in the game, and trainer Jim Ramsay never left the bench. Marty Biron didn’t even put on his helmet.
The shot likely hit Hank in a soft spot in the padding, which happens from time to time. We’ve seen Hank take awkward shots and remain in the game. This likely wouldn’t be any different.
One of the rare bright spots in game two: the captain
The Rangers lost a tough one to the Bruins in game two. Why was it tough you ask? It was tough because the Rangers were brutal in their own end. If the Bruins had capitalised on half of the odd man rushes or wide open chances they had it could have been worse. That said, the Rangers were much improved offensively. They created chances, generated some turnovers of their own and if Tuukka Rask wasn’t in strong form, this may have been a higher scoring game at both ends. The Rangers need to tighten up at the back end if they want to get on the board Tuesday. On to the goals…
Boston 1 Rangers 0; Torey Krug
The Bruins took the lead just over five minutes in as rookie defenseman Torey Krug looked anything but. Entering the Rangers zone late, the blueliner was completely open and received a cross ice pass from Nathan Horton that opened up the ice for the rookie. Receiving the puck out of stride Krug pushed the puck between his skates in spectacular style before beating Lundqvist five hole as his shot beat the despairing dive – and block attempt – from Girardi.
The goal was an example (one of countless examples in the first) where the Rangers defensive coverage was found wanting (particularly Pyatt). The Bruins had multiple odd man rushes and were able to find wide open shooters several times, resulting in quality looks in front of Lundqvist. Luckily for the Rangers, Krug’s was the only such chance the Bruins capitalised on in the first.
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Well, I think we’ve witnessed the advantage of earning home ice in the playoffs, wouldn’t you say? After falling into an 0-2 hole against Washington in the first round, the Rangers dropped the first game of their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup against the Bruins in overtime. After a lengthy feeling out period, the play opened up late in the second and into the third frame. The teams were relatively even until overtime, when the Bruins got chance after chance until Brad Marchand finally notched the game-winner at 15:40. Some positives and negatives from Game One:
- As we noted in the keys to the series, Boston was the league’s best faceoff team in the regular season for the second year in a row, but New York did a good job of keeping things relatively even in Game One. Derek Stepan had a miserable night on draws, going 5-14, but the rest of the Rangers were a combined 25-23. Not terrible, and the Rangers did get a few scoring opportunities off faceoff wins.
- Perhaps whatever issues were plaguing Rick Nash in the first round are now behind him? This was easily Nash’s best performance since Game One against Washington. The Rangers’ offensive leader set up Ryan McDonagh’s goal, drew a penalty on Zdeno Chara and generally skated much better and seemed to have a bit more mustard on his shot. We expected him to have a tough time with Chara in this series, but Nash did very well in Game One. Read more »
Rick Nash will have his hands full with Zdeno Chara
A slew of injuries to Boston blueliners have some convinced the Rangers will roll through their second round matchup, but we should know by now that nothing comes easy for New York. Still, the Blueshirts have a good shot at advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals if they follow these keys to victory.
Mitigate Boston’s advantage on faceoffs
It’s no coincidence that the team with the faceoff edge won five of seven games in New York’s first round matchup. Sure, there’s more to it than that, but winning faceoffs is one way to guarantee puck possession. For the second year in a row, Boston led the league in faceoff percentage by a wide margin, at 56.4%. First round hero Patrice Bergeron (62.1%) is far and away the best faceoff man in the league and will be a handful in this series. New York has been bipolar at the dots all year long, but the Rangers’ pivots will have to bring their “A” game to slow down Boston. Read more »
Welcome to the Musings. It’s a case of back to the future tonight as two rivals clash seemingly for the first time since time began. The boys have broken down the match up in depth and there’s not much you don’t know so I’m going to muse with you about non-Bruins/Rangers matters. Jump on in
Rant I: I’m beginning this week’s musings with a rant. Derek Stepan isn’t getting the due that he deserves. THN run a nice annual piece of alternative hockey awards and one category is ‘breakout player’. Stepan finished 8th, behind winner Nazeem Kadri, Voracek, Taylor Hall and Chris Kunitz among others. All the players had strong years but as they note, Kadri cooled considerably in April whereas Stepan got better as the games for the Rangers got more meaningful. Kunitz – while impressive – constantly had world class line mates while Voracek couldn’t help his team even get to the playoffs and Taylor Hall surely broke out a while ago.
Stepan would have been close to an 80 point season this year, was a league leader in game winners and plus minus all the while on a low scoring team without – for the large part – elite line mates and he’s twenty two. I think Stepan deserves more credit from league sources, but hey – maybe a Stanley Cup may help his rep. Rant over.
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Henrik Lundqvist has been named a finalist for the Vezina trophy again, for the fifth time in his career. Lundqvist won the award last year, and will look to be the first back to back winner since Martin Brodeur (06-07, 07-08). The other finalists are Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus) and Antii Niemi (SJ).