A bit about the goalies

Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Man, I suck at thoughts posts lately.  I started writing one, and then a hit a section on the goaltenders and things just spiraled out of control.  So, this post is about the goalies now. This is really more Hank focused than Pavelec, but I wanted to touch on him, as well.  I hope you enjoy.

First up, Ondrej Pavelec, who is exactly who I thought he would be.  Obviously, he has underperformed in a very limited sample size so far, but that isn’t really what I’m talking about. There was a play last night that really stood out for me.  In the third period, the ‘Yotes made a nifty little passing play that ended with Derek Stepan narrowly missing an open net to Pavelec’s glove side.  Pavelec tracked the first pass, but then, the second pass back door caught him flat footed and he kind of flailed from about 4 feet away from the puck.  Hank may not have gotten to the pass, but his body connection and puck tracking would have stayed engaged for the entire play.  Pavelec knew he was beat and gave up.

Pavelec is a very talented goaltender, from a purely athletic standpoint, but this was my problem with the signing from the beginning.  He hasn’t shown any sign of a willingness to evolve his style and take a step forward with his focus and commitment on the play.  It’s a frustrating thing to watch after several seasons of talented goaltenders taking big steps forward.

Now, onto Hank.  I want to preface this with the fact that this section of analysis exists as an explanation for his struggles, not an excuse for them.  Lundqvist has to be better, and correcting these issues is a great first step.  I’m just trying to add some context to situations that can seem odd to those who have watched Hank for years.

One of his biggest issues thus far has been the bad angle and other soft-type goals.  His LD (low-danger) save% of 97.5% currently ranks 19th in the league (min 200 minutes).  The cause of this also goes hand-in-hand with his atrocious 86.49% MD (medium danger) save%.  Now, we all know that all shots are not created equally.  However, there is a common thread running through Hank’s struggles: lateral options.  The “royal road” theory is a big piece of this, but it also manifests itself through same-side passes from behind the net to a player in front.

So, what exactly is happening here? From a fundamental perspective, on an odd-man rush, it is the responsibility of the goaltender to ensure the shooter doesn’t score on the initial shot.  The pass falls to either the defender playing the odd-man rush, or in the case of a trailer, the back-checking defender.  What often happens, though, is that you make an assessment that the more attractive play to the puck carrier is, in fact, the pass.  When this happens, the goaltender will mentally anticipate that the pass in the most likely option, and position themselves to cover that lateral ground.  Long way of saying “cheating” or “hedging”.

When there is a good flow of communication between the goaltender and his defenders, it can create the opportune time for a “big save”, as casual fans understand it.  It also manifests itself when communication fails.  When the goaltender doesn’t trust that his defender will adequately cover the pass, even when the shot is viable, the goaltender will try to cover as many options as possible through his positioning, including potential trailers.  Many times, the result of this is not being adequately positioned to deal with any of the options.  Think about a batter caught between a fastball and a breaking ball, because their timing is unsure of what is coming.

Same thing on behind-the-net passes.  When there is a room for a shooter to take a quick step toward the front of the net for a side-angle shot, or an option in front, it creates a similar positional dynamic.  When the goaltender trusts that the space will be taken away from the puck carrier, he will divert a little more attention to the net-front option, even though that is the defender’s responsibility.  Again, conversely, when you don’t trust that the player is covered, the goaltender will lean away from the post to give themselves a truer angle to the net-front threat, and neglect the puck carrier.  If he gets a little too much space, boom.  Bad angle goal.

This is a logical extension of Hank’s current statistical profile.  His HD (high danger) save% is 86.96%, good for 9th in the NHL. These plays tend to happen in situations where you are simply reacting, rather than puck-movement plays with multiple attack options.  This tells me that Hank’s physical tools aren’t massively eroding, but that his tactical game plan has been compromised by his inability to stay disciplined to his designated threat.  Conversely, he could be hedging not because he doesn’t trust his defenders, but that he doesn’t trust his own speed at this stage of his career.  This is certainly possible, but it doesn’t really match up with the eye test.  He doesn’t look any slower to me out there, he just looks less decisive.

So, what does he do about this problem? Well, assuming my theory is accurate, there is a larger, team-wide course correction that needs to take place.  The defensive system either needs to be executed better or adjusted.  On an individual basis, Hank needs to focus only on what he can control.  With a defective defensive zone scheme, he is going to let in goals on lateral plays he has no chance on.  It’s a fact of a flawed roster.  However, if he can focus on what he is responsible for and make the saves that he needs to make, the defense can adjust around him.  It’s not going to solve the issue of giving up goals at an unacceptable rate, that is on the other 21 guys on the roster, as long as Hank is doing what he able to do.  However, it is a big first step in creating a more stable environment to begin systemic changes to the coverage schemes the team employs and hopefully, improve the defensive output, as a whole.

*all goaltender stats are 5v5 and via Corsica Hockey

"A bit about the goalies", 5 out of 5 based on 14 ratings.
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  1. I have to say, I think HL has been a HOF goalie, I also think he is understandably aging a bit (as we all do), but I also think you are spot on. Well done!

  2. Great analysis! Would be nice if the beat writers (Looking at you Brooks) would take the time to figure out what is going on instead of dumping on the HOF goalie. Clearly Hank needs to improve, but the team defense needs to give him a reason to think he doesn’t need to stand on his head every game to squeak out a win.

  3. I’m no expert, but this certainly makes a lot of sense. Outstanding job, Justin!

  4. This was nice to read. I think/hope Hank will get back to his true form. And articles like these, logical and fact based, give me more reason for confidence in this team. Great write up!

  5. I don’t know, sounds like excuses to me. It can’t possibly be Hank’s fault, blame the defense. …really. And I see we’re judging Pavelec on 3 games..ok.

    1. Justin said multiple times that it could be Hank getting older, but his eye test doesn’t necessarily support that yet.He also gave a small sample size warning on Pavelec’s tenure in NY. He also mentioned why he’s not sold on Pavelec based on non-NYR play.

      Re-read more carefully.

    2. Oversimplifying, Justin said that it WAS Hank’s fault. The issue Justin was addressing was whether the errors are correctable or whether Hank’s skills have truly declined.

      Explanations do sound like excuses. The difference really is the motive of the writer. While I have oft disagreed with Justin on the value of our goaltender, what I read here are explanations, not excuses.

  6. There’s definitely some of both going on with Hank – he is older and he is overcompensating for the shoddy play in front of him. He said himself after that bad 2nd goal in the Sharks game that he was caught thinking about what was going to happen when the kid made a pass in front instead of staying focused on the moment. He is not the goalie he was 4 or 5 years ago, but he is still damn good especially if there is some structure in front of him. All that said, they really need a win against Montreal so I’m hoping Pavs has another solid game and the defense doesn’t look like a tire fire.

  7. Well done!!! I have long suspected that the defensive system that AV has in place is too complicated for his personnel, either too many options or too much information to process. I have always believed KISS theory is best in most situations in all things, even hockey. As a long time coach, reading and reacting is hard enough w/o injecting too many options into the mix. Just let them play!!!

  8. Man, I suck at thoughts posts lately. I started writing one, and then a hit a section on the goaltenders and things just spiraled out of control.


    It would be a lot easier you know if you eliminated the thinking part and just tried to explain why the new evidence corroborates with what you’ve said before.


    Nice job Justin, as always. It’s early yet, but the fact that Talbot and Raanta were hoping for NHL careers and Pavelek has had one seems real important.

    I agree about Hank. I think the problem is not entirely new. He has played a relatively small number of games where he has simply been able to win them against all odds, but mostly he has been unsuccessful when he does not trust his teammates to do their jobs. And the upside of that trust is it gives everyone better insight into how good his teammates are (or aren’t). You need to bale out teammates when they mess up or are just stretched too thin, but not when you simply feel (rightly or wrongly) they are not up to it.

  9. I think being able to role 4 very solif competent lines every game will also help ALOT! Very happy to have Nieves up centering the 4th line which should have been the case from game 1! Being able to roll 4 lines is a must if you wanna have a shot at making the playoffs.

  10. Nice analysis. I am also concerned that Hank’s confidence/trust or lack thereof has pulled down his play. I’d be interested to see data on shootouts to know if his save percentage on breakaways is the same the last 2-3 years versus before.

    As any golfer knows, when you lose your mental edge a whole host of unwanted side effects can result on the physical side of things.

    I watch a lot of the other team broadcasts on (because I don’t enjoy Sam Rosen’s homerism), and I can report that other teams seem pretty sure that Hank is well into the downside of his career. That may be the difficult truth we may have to accept, even though we honor and thank him as the best to ever have gone between the pipes for our team.

  11. For the most part I think this article is excuse making in the guise of critical and out-of-the-box thinking. The whole league other than the some of the faithful think Hank is a shell of his former HOF self. This is the 4th year now (very small sample size for current year) where he hasn’t even been better than his back-up. Not to mention his dreadful performance against the Senators to end our season (after a strong performance against the Canadiens) last year.

    It would be insanity to expect Hank to turn around 3+ years of mediocrity and regain his prime form. Just not going to happen. He will have good streaks and and bad streaks, just like most of the starting non-elite goaltenders in the league.

    Just got to hang on until 2019-20 when the Shestyorkin era can begin.

    1. Your comment: “It would be insanity to expect Hank to turn around 3+ years of mediocrity”. During those 3+ years of alleged mediocrity, Hank achieved the following markers:

      –a .920/.922/.920/.910 save percentage
      –backstopped his team to a Stanley Cup Final
      –took his team to an eastern conference final
      –won 6 playoff series against 4 series losses
      –won 129 regular season games
      –beat Crosby twice and Ovechkin for the third time in the playoffs

      Did you even watch any of these games? Because you sure aren’t paying attention to the numbers. How in the Hades does someone look at Hank’s run above, and say “wow, this is mediocre”?? It’s unparalleled in Rangers’ franchise history. The whole 90-year history of this team.

      1. I’ve said this countless times. Henrik Lundqvist will make the HOF with ease. Why? Because when the voters look at this era of Rangers hockey, they will see that the team’s success, such that it was, was driven primarily by only one ELITE player—Hank. There is no NY athlete that has ever had to bear a larger burden for this team’s success, perhaps other than Patrick Ewing.

        For anyone to say he’s had 3+ years of mediocrity truly has not been paying attention. Fortunately, the voters have been.

      2. You should know better than to use stats/facts against Hank haters. Completely irrelevant to their point of view which can be succinctly stated as “HANK SUCKS!”

      3. I’ve watched every Ranger game for several decades. No one is denying the King is a first ballot HOF. However FYI the save % indicates the problem. .920/.922/.920/.910 is not elite and usually not good enough to win the Cup. The top goalies each year (Bob, Price, etc.) are better than that. And the days of .920 appear to be over.

        1. You termed Hank’s last 3+ seasons mediocrity. I listed a number of reasons why I thought you were way off base. Just so you know–league average save percentage is around .914, so a .920 save percentage is a good one. Especially when you’ve faced the most shots of any goalie in the league, like Hank did that year. Also you failed to notice the SV% consistency in three of the four seasons in which you called Hank mediocre.

          The top goalies you speak of–Price, Bobrovsky–are certainly great goalies when healthy, but their careers are more inconsistent than Lundqvist’s. Both Price & Bob aren’t as durable as Hank either, they’ve missed huge chunks of time in their shorter careers.

          My question to you & all the other folks complaining about Lundqvist is simple: one bad year makes you complain about this guy? Really? He’s been there day in/day out for his team for 12 years, and I’d say he & Brian Leetch are the two greatest players that have ever worn the Ranger jersey.

        2. Orland-

          Bob and Price have not only never won a Cup, but they’ve had unimpressive if not outright lousy playoff resumes. And what else makes for a great playoff resume? A strong enough team in front of the goalie. The Rangers of the last few seasons just haven’t been good enough. How is that Hank’s fault?

          1. King was dreadful against the Senators last year costing us a shot at the Cup. Simply got outplayed by Anderson. We were certainly as good as the Sens and the Sens took a crippled Pens team to OT game 7. That was this group’s best shot and Hank spit the bit.

          2. That is total nonsense. Hank wasn’t as sharp in the Ottawa series as he was vs Montreal, I’ll grant you that. But spit the bit? Please. The prime culprit was the defense failing to deliver.

  12. need to get shestorkyin here as soon as possible. some of our present goalies are very much overpaid !

    1. but but but …. that was the going rate back then and we’re still gonna suffer for another 2-3 more?

  13. I have seen Hank cheat off the post a bit more than last year. But do you blame the guy?

    The team in transition has been horrible. They do break up plays but they haven’t been able to capitalize on any of them because the extra forward is playing back instead of attacking. It’s like they turtle into some hybrid trap that half the guys are trapping the other half are retreating.

    Can HL play better , yeah.

    But can the team cover the options and let hank deal with a shot from the puck carrier?

    Everyone knows when the King is in goal you take away the pasig options and let Hank focus on the shooter.

    It’s funny but Girardi was always good at cutting off the pass and letting hank deal with the shot from the puck carrier.

    If you cut off the pass then they don’t get those lateral options. And Hank gets a straight up awesome chance to stop a shot. He lined up he’s angled properly and he just needs to wait for the shot.

  14. The theory that Hank is playing poorly due to bad defense has been dis-proven statistically ad nasueum. I believe even this article identifies his primary weakness now is on low impact/less dangerous shots (that should not go in). He still does reasonably well on dangerous shots relative to the league. And we see it regularly- so many shots from behind the net and the side of the net seem to go in.

    And then when the back-ups do better we’re told that is because the team plays more defensively when they don’t have the (once) impenetrable King to back them up.

    It’s amazing how many fans still buy this but I guess somewhat understandable – Hank is the greatest Ranger of them all and it’s painful to admit he is no longer the hero he was for so many years.

  15. It’s very simple, Henrik has bailed out the Rangers for so many years and games that as soon as something bad happens he shuts down.

    It’s like when older people don’t have the tolerance level they used to. Me included.

    He’s still a great goalie that has a much lower tolerance level. His coach throwing him under the bus today is typical of the coach and why the players loathe him. It’s also the stupidity of a desperate man trying to save his own shin. Maybe AV doesn’t have access to stats that clearly show what the problem is.

    1. Wait…so you’re saying that Hank’s play has declined due to the mental side…but it’s still all AV’s fault…?

      Both AV and Hank are a lot closer to the end of their Rangers careers than to the beginning. Both guys are the best, statistically, at their jobs that the team has ever had. But you want to worship one and heap vitriol on the other. What kind of sense does that make?

      Show a little balance and a little class.

      1. I didn’t say that it’s AV’s fault, what I did say is that instead of showing support for his franchise player, he said “goaltenders need to stop the puck.” Insinuating that all his team’s issues lie with henrik.

        Not only does turn out to backfire against the coach in the long term, but it also commences the desperate acts of a coach that will lead to his firing.

        If AV believes that giving up 2 goals and winning a game against the worst team in the league is worth jeopardizing his relationship with his team’s best player, then he’s a bigger moron than I even thought.

        1. It’s always easier to opine when you have no skin in the game. Meanwhile, the coach has to try to win the next game. When, in the past, first Talbot and next Raanta took over the cage for a few games, things worked out well. If you disagree with those other times, so be it. I thought it was right. We’ll see what happens this time with Pav.

          Your parsing of the coach’s words for negative meanings, and your psychic level reading of the players’ feelings, seems fanciful to me.

          1. I make no bones about my feelings about the coach, he’s a terrible coach who has been fortunate enough to have good teams and have a nice looking regular season resume. T me he should have been fired the day after Game 7 of the TB series in 2015. But they kept him and they got crushed against the Pens the following year in the playoffs and he basically lost the series for them last year against Ottawa. So maybe I was right?

            But anyway, I also make no qualms that Henrik is not the player he was. Would you be? Taking the abuse he has with less than playoff level teams in front of him? And facing high danger shots per game at an alarming rate game in and game out for almost his entire career?

            Maybe he is gun shy a little. But if the Rangers are going to make the playoffs then it will be with him in nets. Not the back up.

            I find it utterly laughable that we go through this every year. First it was Talbot, then it was Raanta, and now it’s Pavelec. All better than a HOF player. The other thing is the Henrik haters that keep saying that he’s too old. Maybe, but this has been said for the last 4 years, so I guess EVENTUALLY you all will be correct.

            It’s discussions like this that make me wish that we traded him to a contender and he wins the Cup there. Won’t happen but I wish it for his sake. Because the lack of appreciation is astonishing.

            It ALWAYS comes down to the goalie. On every play. Not how dumb the coach is for putting the wrong players in at the wrong times; not how many turnovers the players in front of him make; not assessing the quality of the shots he faces, because, hey, a shot on goal is a shot on gal and they all look the same, no?

            Al we hear is about the goalie, because that is the simplistic answer. The coach said it too: “The goaltender needs to stop the puck.” Great analysis and coaching. How about, deploying the right players in the right spots, and KEEPING it that way for at least 5 games. Through 5 games to start this year, the coach had NINE different D men pairings, and that doesn’t even include the in game changes he made for those pairings. What a moron, and THEN preaches to find CHEMISTRY. How efn stupid.

            But go ahead, blame the goalie, scream for the back up like has been done for the last 4 years, let’s see how it all works out. Getting giddy about a game against the worst team in the league and against an AHL goalie (btw, how come Raanta has not started every game? he must be injured) is grasping at straws. The Rangers have to be at .500 sooner than later or you cane forget about this season. And it will all be Henrik’s fault because if we had $3.5M more cap space then we would win the Cup. Right.

          2. Richter—

            So on the one hand you are saying the following—

            “I make no bones about my feelings about the coach, he’s a terrible coach who has been fortunate enough to have good teams and have a nice looking regular season resume” That of course is about AV.

            But then you say….”I also make no qualms that Henrik is not the player he was. Would you be? Taking the abuse he has with less than playoff level teams in front of him? And facing high danger shots per game at an alarming rate game in and game out for almost his entire career?” That of course is about Hank…

            And then you go on to say….

            “To me he should have been fired the day after Game 7 of the TB series in 2015. But they kept him and they got crushed against the Pens the following year in the playoffs and he basically lost the series for them last year against Ottawa. So maybe I was right?” Again, AV is the boogeyman.

            So, this is how I read this. The Rangers haven’t been a very good team so Hank should not be blamed for their shortfalls, but they actually have been a good enough team so AV should be blamed for not getting them farther than they are—primarily because he didnt play James Sheppard in Game 7 in 2015 when he had the chance—the same guy who was deemed no longer an NHL player by essentially the entire league. I guess it had nothing to do with the fact that they were running on fumes talent wise because they didnt have their heart and soul player—Zuc, and their defense was essentially wiped out. No, as you’ve said in the past, it was all about James Sheppard, the future marginal player of the Kloten Flyers.

            Take a moment to digest all this. Ok, now that you have, this is what I would do if I were you. Go outside, take a run around Central Park. Maybe catch a movie. Maybe drive up tp the Yale Bowl and watch Columbia play football. Just clear your mind and do something fun—because right now, this whole Rangers/AV thing is really getting to you! 🙂

          3. Ok, let’s discuss, valid points, BUT…

            How do you win a Cup?
            1) Get the first overall pick several times and build around very high draft choices.
            2) Be fortunate enough to have a great core of vets and get lucky with young players that give you good depth that also allow you to stay under the hard cap.
            3) Have the best goalie in the world and have very good depth up and down the line up.

            The Rangers were #3, for a few years anyway. How many times have we discussed how the Rangers have been bailed out by Hank, or that Hank has masked the rest of the team’s flaws. How many?

            In order for #3 to win a Cup, EVERYTHING after the King has to work ALMOST flawlessly. That includes your coach my friend. IMO, AV has basically sabotaged the King’s chance to win a Cup. Yes, that is a very strong statement, but I almost can say that your coach would rather lose and be right than win and be wrong. Preposterous? Only the coach knows but I suspect that he is that stubborn and egotistical.

            I know, you’re ready to throw a white coat on me now, but I call it like I see it.

            So yes, I stand by everything I said and I just explained how it is not hypocritical at all.

        2. Obviously Lundqvist is not the Rangers’ best player and hasn’t been for years. BUT, even if he was, a coach who is afraid of his best player is not worthy of the name coach.

          The team is a collective -8; with their talent, they should be maybe +4. Lundqvist’s poor play explains 1/3 of the problem, maybe even 1/2. Fixing Hank’s play won’t make the Rangers a good team, but neither will ignoring it and fixing all else.

          1. Who is their best player Raymond?

            Again, I’m not going to sit here and say that there hasn’t been goals that he should have stopped, because there has been.

            But what about the saves he makes that only 2-3 goalies in the league can make on a regular basis?

            And what game have the Rangers played that even remotely constitutes a 60 minute effort? The Arizona game? YAY!! lol

            So let Pav play the next 10 games and see what happens. I’m all for it.

          2. Actually, unlike the last four years, I think Hank is the best Ranger goaltender this year. That was one of the reasons I predicted the Rangers would miss the postseason.

            It doesn’t matter who the best Ranger is in my view. Hank is certainly not top five, probably not top ten.

            All goaltenders regularly make highlight reel saves.

          3. I don’t know if you follow it, but the Rangers are near the bottom in the league on all positive advance stats. The only thing that “saves” them is that they are “unlucky” with their shooting %.

            So it stands to reason that no matter who you have in goal this year so far, it still would not be pretty.

        3. Richter, how on Earth can you conclude that AV saying what he said insinuates that all the team’s issues lie with Hank? That isn’t even remotely implied here.

          He is saying Hank has to be better. And he’s giving Pavelec his third start of the season in Game 12. Horror of horrors. I’ll bet Gorton must be tearing his hair out right now. Who would start their backup against the worst team in the East when he’s barely played? Has AV lost his mind? 🙂

          Come on my friend, I think your hatred of the coach has gone just a little bit overboard here.

          1. Yeah, I admit it bro, I’ve had it with the coach, no question. The “window” is closing, if it hasn’t already. There are so few opportunities to win a championship and I would say that the Rangers blew theirs, no matter who’s fault it is.

            And I absolutely am embarrassed and dismayed to hear how fans treat one of the top 5 Rangers of all time. Same for Eli, which is even worse because he won 2 championships. I get the “what have you done for me today” narrative but there is cause and effect and you very rarely hear about the product in front of the goalie, for the most part.

            And again, once, just once, I would like your coach to say “I was at fault.” Just once. It’s on my “bucket list.”

        4. That AV quote really bugged me too. No acknowledgment of the woeful defense in front of the goalies in pretty much every game played to date. Just an offhanded dismissal of the hardest working guy on the team…

          1. I mean who does he think he’s talking about? For someone that is awful at his side of the responsibilities, he sure has a lot to say about his best players.

            Maybe Hank should say, “Coaches need to make the right decisions.”

      2. Who are you to talk about class, mythdoc? You’ve been running Hank down every chance you get, and here you are lecturing a passionate & concerned Ranger fan about a damn coach…a guy who’s not even a real Ranger like Lundqvist.

        You & all the AV defenders need to brush up on his history–he repeatedly (and pointlessly) messed with Luongo’s head in his last 2 1/2 years in Vancouver, psyching out his #1 goalie in the Cup Finals vs the Bruins in 2011 to the point where the Canucks blew a 2-0 and 3-1 lead in the series. Vigneault is not an honorable player like Lundqvist, just a desperate coach who’ll blame anyone nearby for his own tactical failings when things are going badly for him.

        1. I haven’t been running him down, dude, I just called him, above, our best goalie, ever. M.C, there is so much about your post that makes no sense, I don’t even know where to begin. We’re all passionate and concerned. That is why we’re taking time here. I don’t believe these psychoanalytical readings of the mindset of professional athletes. I remember the Vancouver-Boston series perfectly well; I don’t agree with your simplistic history.

          One of the reasons I like to use a lot of jokes, irony, and sarcasm on this board is that it punctures the overly serious and dogmatic views that are out there. You, sir, are proving by how thin skinned you are to my posts that you fit the description to a T.

          1. Whatever, man–Richter’s a much more insightful & enjoyable poster than you, so I was just sticking up for the guy’s post. You called his post classless, and that’s just ridiculous. He’s strongly disagreeing with the coach again, he’s got every right to do that. There’s no psychology involved in that, nor in mentioning the fact that AV’s Canuck team blew 2 two-game leads in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011. That’s the great thing about facts, is that they’re true whether or not you agree with them.

          2. Yep, just like the fact that AV is the winningest coach in the sport over the last decade, and has won more playoff series as Rangers coach than any other coach in the last 80 years of the franchise.

            You’re right. Facts are stubborn things.

          3. I’d argue that Mike Sullivan is already more of a winning coach than Vigneault. Quenneville & Sutter too. Overall AV has been good for NYR, there’s no arguing with his first two seasons here. But I think he’s in a downward spiral right now, due to a combination of coaching expiration date and bizarre personnel usage. I can still consider him to be a good coach–one far better than his 2 predecessors by a mile–and say it’s time for him to get fired. They’re not mutually exclusive thoughts.

          4. Right. It had nothing to do with the rosters they were handed (certainly in Sully and Q’s cases). Sully was a coach no one wanted. Q was esssntially AV when he was in St. Louis and Colorado. But yes, let’s spin it so that these coaches came in, sprinkled magic dust on these wayward players (some of whom will be future HOFers the likes of which we do not have), and that proves just how superior they are to our coach.

            The rest of what you are saying I can understand. Every coach has a shelf life. Could the expiration date be fast approaching on AV? Sure.

            But keep in mind the previous coaching changes here. Torts replaced Renney. Although the record doesn’t support it, let’s call it an upgrade, even though statistically speaking, it was a wash. AV over Torts was certainly an upgrade. So maybe AV should be fired…but replaced by who? Change for change sake usually backfires—badly.

            Show me who the upgrade is and I will drive AV to the airport myself. 🙂

          5. Thank you my friend, I appreciate the sentiments and the support.

            I do not think that mythdoc called me classless or maybe he/she did. But my comments are usually well supported by the past and what actually happened regardless of what others here think, thinking that I just come to a conclusion without basis. Going to 25-30 games per year plus playoffs gives a fan good perspective as to what happens on the ice, including away from the puck.

            The funny thing is I liked AV a lot in 2013-14. Not because they went to the SCF but because I thought he did a great job of coaching. Then it got to his head and went “rogue.” 2015 was a clusterf–k. I wanted him fired then but that was not realistic. We got shellacked in 2016 and we all know what went down in 2017. The coach losing 3 playoff games directly should be back?

            His decisions are maniacal. Buch is on the 4th line but on the top PP unit. Does that make any sense? At all? I could go on but we all know the story by now.

        2. That’s BS. Name one former player that has ever made that assertion. It was AV that made the unprecedented move to name Luongo a captain for crying out loud!

          Luongo was a talented guy who also was a hot head at times and lost focus, that’s why AV needed to switch gears to Schneider. But who did AV go with in Game 7 vs Chicago, despite Schneider out playing him? Luongo. In the SCF, he wasn’t anywhere near good enough, and in Schneider, they had a high end option. If anything, it was probably AV’s faith in Luongo and sticking with him too long that cost him the Cup. Luongo simply stunk when it mattered. How is this any different than what Coach Q did with his goalie carousel in Chicago? And it was Torts who ran him out of town, not AV.

          Who has AV “blamed”? Just more total nonsense.

          1. I would’ve fired AV for giving a goalie a letter. How does a goalie work the bench between shifts?


          2. I know. What a horrible, awful, terrible heinous thing to do. It’s right up there with pulling wings off of butterflies and not helping old ladies across the street.

            But yeah, we hate the coach so let’s overdramatize the move by saying he should have been fired and that he’s a jackass. More nonsensical “I hate the coach so I will literally say anythng at all” babble.

    2. as soon as something bad happens he shuts down.

      I’m sorry, but that is the definition of a bad goalie. Imagine if he had to deal with all the odd man rushes the Beezer faced.

        1. When you’ve been knocked out of the playoffs two years in a row because your goalie gave up, it is time to acknowledge reality. Is he talented, sure? Will he end up in the HOF? Very likely. Does he deserve the honor? I don’t know – outstanding from 2005-2012 or 2013, respectable 2013-2017, is that a HOF career? seems kinda thin to me actually.

          Goaltending is not about highlight reel saves. It is about winning games. A goaltender who does not believe in his team is not a goaltender.

          1. Ray, Hank has won more games than every goalie to ever play in the NHL, except for eight of them. He’s ninth overall in career wins!! What in the hell are you talking about? “A goaltender who doesn’t believe in his team is not a goaltender” is your quote–well what does it mean when a goalie wins 409 regular season games, along with another 61 playoff wins?

            Are you on acid for every game, or do you just read the boxscore and invent a fantasized version of those events in your head?

          2. If not for that idiot Bettman and his lockouts then Henrik would have every season he’s played to win 30 games to start a career. he already holds the record. and that’s with less than Cup worthy teams all throughout his career. He’s stolen more playoff series than most goalies in NHL history.

            You tell me Raymond.

      1. Right…he completely shut down when the Rangers were down 3-1 two years in a row, and became the first goalie ever to come back to win both times. Yeah, when the going gets tough….Hank sure goes into the fetal position. Come on!

  16. Lineup in Hartford:

    D pairs:


    Pionk with poor gap control on Ho-Sang for the 1st
    Chytil with a smart play putting it off the D skate on purpose
    Pedrie got torched on the 2nd goal

    1. Sproul wearing 55, plays like him.

      DeAngelo-Graves now together in the 2nd, Pionk-Pedrie(think they’re both on their off hand), pairs are really fluid

  17. Justin – when you say that Pavelec hasn’t changed his style and then you say he gave up on a play – that sounds more like an effort issue that style. And IMHO that is even worse.

    Can’t wait for some of that Super Benoit mojo to start rubbing off on him.

  18. Watching Gettinger play tonight, boy does his skating look good. But Sarnia crushed the Soo 6-3 and looks to be one of the best in the West.

  19. Wow! This is some thread! I find myself at one moment wanting to give major props to MC, Richter, Ray and Myth, all of whom I respect greatly, and then the next moment wanting to say, huh, what the heck are you talking about?

    First of all, Ray, why are you literally making things up here as it pertains to Hank? You claim Hank “gives up” and has been in recent years a “bad goalie”. You state the first as it is fact. Based on what? Every person who has ever known this guy or played with this guy will tell you that NO ONE works harder or cares more than Hank. He is an inspiration to every one of his teammates, and that includes all of his former understudies who worship the guy. Bad goalie? He had one bad year—last year. And bad is a relative term—bad by his lofty standards perhaps. He was, on the whole, outstanding come playoff time—which has pretty much been the case throughout his career—lifting a largely unremarkable group to some remarkable playoff victories over teams that, on paper, had far more talent. Sorry, I respect your opinion but your take on Hank, at least today, is WAY off the wall.

    Richter, I fear your hatred of the coach has taken you into the world of non-reality. AV threw Hank “under the bus”? Why? Because he chose to play Pavelec for back to back games? How long has he stuck with Hank this season despite some very un-Hank like outings this season. How many games has Pavelec started this year? Uh, this will be his third start of the season. At this pace, he’ll play 20-21 games. I’m sure the goal is to keep Hank to around 55ish. So if anythng, he hasn’t played enough yet, right?

    “Goalies have to stop the puck” has you all upset for some reason. Big deal. He’s said stuff like this before. Do you honestly believe that Hank feels disrespected? I doubt it, considering how AV has stuck with the guy game after (i hate to say it) so-so game thus far. How is that disrespect? More likely than not, Benny is probably 100% on board here, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Hank himself is too. This gives him a chance to catch his breath after a lot of game action, look at some film, work on some things, and clear his head.

    As for the players loathing the coach, please, I would love to hear more about that. I suppose it’s possible, but I’m curious, how long has this “loathe-fest” been going on? Did it just begin? Was it happening last year when Gorton gave his coach a mega-raise and extension? Didn’t AV make similar comments last season when he wa struggling? Do you think that Gorton would give his coach such a contract if he had such a poor relationship with his players? Or are you just making this up because you just don’t like the guy.

    And it’s funny, since the Post has two stories tomorrow, one about the goalie change and one about AV’s reaction to Joe Girardi’s firing, and in neither was there even a hint, or a suggestion, or a speculation, that there are any issues of that kind going on. Bob McKenize did some sniffing around and reported a few days ago that the Rangers are more likely to make a trade before they consider making a coaching change. So if there was some truth to this, wouldn’t we hear, at least an agent go off on AV, like what’s happened with Julien in Montreal? Has there ever, in four plus years, been any hint of player unrest? There has not.

    We know from the Torts firing that this organization will not tolerate a situation where the coach has lost the room. So since AV is still here, that suggests your assertion, at the moment anyway, is false.

    Guys, lets deal with reality and not nonsense. Hank and AV are actually pretty much the same story. Both have arguably been among the very best at what they do for more than a decade now. Both have records that put them among the top of the class of any person that has ever been in their respective positions in the history of the game. Hank is a sure fire HOFer. AV, before he is finished, may very well join him. There are no other Rangers who have resume that are even close to what these guys have done. They have both been the primary reason why the Rangers have had one of the most succesful runs in team history. Yet somehow, they are the focal point of derision for some out here. I have no idea why. The only “sin” that both have committed is that neither has reached the top of the summit. But that’s the case for a lot of talented people. This is a team sport, and you need the team to do it. Hank has NEVER really had that team. AV had it once in Vancouver, but he got beat by a hot goalie. It happens.

    Now, it’s more than fair to ask—Is Hank slipping? Is the time approaching for JG to make a change after four plus years with AV, simply because all coaches have a shelf life? Perhaps and perhaps. All more than fair questions, I grant you.

    But to treat Hank like he’s Doug Soetart and AV like he’s Bryan Trottier is just so absurd. These are the same guys, guys. Why you would hate one and admire the other is absolutely beyind me.

    1. Lol, love yo too bro. Ok, let’s see how this all plays out. We can backtrack down the road, talking about this week.

      1. I’m just worried about you buddy. You seem overly agitated. I don’t want you to do anything rash in these stressful times. 🙂

        1. Nah, but you have to admit one thing, the window of opportunity has come and gone, no matter what the reasons for failing to win the Cup are.

  20. Hmmm. Goalies need to stop pucks. I believe he said the same thing in Vancouver. Funny. What happened in Vancouver with the same system is happening here.

    Hmmmmmm. Starting to draw parallels , getting scarey.

    1. AV ran Luongo into the ground too. See the agenda is, have a good regular season record and make the playoffs, so the coaching position will be retained.

      I wonder, because I do not know the answer to this, but who has the best regular season record as an NHL never to win a Cup. Would it surprise anyone if it is our beloved coach?

      1. Here you go, winningest NHL coaches without a Cup:

        Lindy Ruff (great, lol)
        Barry Trotz
        Pat Quinn
        Ron Wilson
        Bryan Murray
        Alain Vigneault

        I am not making this up mythdoc.

          1. Actually, lots of great coaches who came oh so close but fell short, which for some reason you are spinning as some mortal sin. Maybe the real story is their coaching took good but not great teams further than they would have, only to eventually succumb to the better team. None of them deserve the derision they are getting here.

          2. Great coaches add maybe 10% to a team’s potential, bad ones cost 30%. Plenty of data to support that in baseball & Soccer.

            Guess what stage the Rangers are in?

          3. In baseball, where the coach calls the shots on every play, I believe that. In hockey, I do not.

            This is what I do believe—600+ wins. Nuff said.

            If the Rangers are going to fire him, then fine. They had better be able to upgrade, the way they did the last two times they changes coaches. Look what happened recently in Montreal (back slide), Boston (inconclusive) and of course most famously in Vancouver, where the franchise unraveled after AV was given the boot.

            Be careful what you wish for…..

        1. It’s hard to win the cup. If it were easier we would have won it more than once in the last 77 years.

          1. Or better put, Pat Quinn might have had the greatest coaching upset in SC history if Nathan Lafayette’s shot had been another inch to the left, and Mike Keenan would have had another playoff failure. But yeah, lets dump on Quinn that Lafayette missed the shot. And let’s credit Keenan for all the preposterously fluky goals we scored in Games 3 and 4 in Vancouver. It’s ALL about the coaches after all.

          2. I don’t disagree. Quite honestly, I’m very fair whether you think so or not. I take a business approach to everything and the coach has not enhanced the business of his team.

            You and others can argue all you want but there’s plenty of material that shows that he does not make the best use of the assets he’s given. Maybe they don’t win anyway, but it’s hard to evaluate players when the managing of such players is so bad.

            That’s why it’s time for a change of coach, to see if the results on the ice are the same. Then the GM knows what to do.

  21. Ok, I admit to being surprised that more civility broke out after I went to bed. Thanks for that.

    For the record, I am a huuuge Hank fan. I am sad his chances at the cup have dwindled. Sometimes I even wish he could have sat cozy behind the neutral zone trap, like Marty, made 18 saves a night, none of them hard, and collected multiple cups. My sister, who is a Devils fan, thinks that makes him the GREATEST GOALIE EVER. Nevertheless, there is surely no harm in pointing out his struggles. Mainly, I am worried about his letting on ice things get into his head.

    For the record, I think AV would be fired, and should be fired, if we play another 11 games like these first 11. Inevitable he will be fired someday. Where I differ from many is I don’t blame him for falling short, and I haven’t developed a personal dislike for him. I did dislike Torts who was, in fact, guilty of throwing his players under the bus. He just did it to Dubi again in Columbus!

    I thInk it’s also possible that the ship will steady and we will make the playoffs. I believe that AV is indeed an excellent regular season coach. Call that a bad thing if you want to, but you need to get there.

    I never heard before the distinction between “real” Rangers (players) and not real Rangers (AV in this case). That’s a new one. Also, I don’t think coaches who “take the blame” for a team’s loss are being sincere. Girardi’s replay gaffe recently is about as close as you can come to a situation where it is obvious a coaching level mistake was made. That rarely happens in hockey.

    Anyway, let peace be restored, lol. I’ll try not to poke you bears as much!

    1. Ok, so why attack me and call me classless. I have my opinions but I don’t let it get personal with posters.

      Plus, when someone goes at me then it would be nice to tell me where you think I am wrong instead of making a blanketed statement that I’m crazy or something like that.

      See, that’s why I love E3. We disagree all the time but he tells me why he disagrees.

      Let’s also not forget that I back up my statement with examples and sometimes stats. How many others do that here?

      I would rather be defending my claims with you than this stuff, quite honestly. Forgive and forget, both ways (you and I).

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