3. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers: Give Captain Shutout a goal, and he gives you a victory.
...unlike my commentary on Staal yesterday, this, for the most part, will be all positive.
...other than Mark Messier, I'm not sure there's another Ranger in the history of the franchise that has meant more to the Blueshirts success than Lundqvist. The Rangers have qualified for the playoffs in five of the six years since the lockout and without Hank they would have qualified for exactly zero. He gives the Rangers a chance to win every night. There aren't many team in the NHL that can say that and the fact that he wasn't a Vezina nominee this past season was a joke.
...now, I do have to say that I'm still waiting for Hank to put this team on his back in the playoffs. With the exception of this past playoffs, when not even Patrick Roy at his best would have gotten the Rangers inept offense past the Capitals, I've felt that Hank has been outplayed by his counter-parts in the playoffs whether it was Miller, Fluery or Varlamov. I know the team in front of Hank wasn't the best but neither was the Montreal team in front of Halak two years ago and he willed them into the Conference Finals.
Kevin, I think you need to lay off the "put the team on his back" notion. As much as goalies can win or lose games, they still need help from teir teams to ge tthe ball rolling. If you look back at all the great goalie runs in the playoffs, none of them started because a goalie just got hot from the 1st shot, they all get into a groove because their teammates help them get there by playing some defence in front of them or giving them an early lead. Hank hasn't had that yet. Perhaps we will see it this year with some aded firepower, so maybe the Rangers won't lead the league in 3rd period comebacks, and rather in holding 1st period leads. If that happens then I think you will see Hank hav a great playoff run.
I dont understand how you much more you expect Hank to "carry the team". He gives up his fair share of bad goals in the regular season, but I dont remember any fluke goals hes given up to hurt the team. Most appropriate evidence, game 4, 2OT, at MSG... Gaborik, Lundqvist. enough said. Im still throwing up in my mouth over that game
You will not find a bigger competitor than Hank. Thats the main reason we Ranger fans love him. He gives his heart and soul in every game and on every play. Would be nice if Biron is healthy though, because he could definitely use some more time off during a grueling hockey season. He's a true ranger and i im glad theyre building a great team around him.
The key to Henrik's success this upcoming season will be how well Biron plays and how often the coach will be willing to use him.
I truly love Hank. He recently said this to a Swedish newspaper on a question to leave the Rangers for a better team: "Leaving the Rangers is COMPLETELY unthinkable".
sorry for the length of my previous comment .. it is a touchy matter for me as I feel Lundy deserves to have a much bigger trophy case.
the fact that he was not included in the Vezina nominations and ultimately voted the winner is a complete and utter joke. I don't want to take anything away from Thomas as he is a class act and a great goalie nor can I knock on Rinne as he is a fabulous goalie.. what I will say is that Luongo is a joke. Luongo had the benefit of playing behind an absolutely stacked team and still ended up getting the rope on several occasions during the playoffs. you compare the defensive core and system of those three teams to a Rangers squad that had one guy over the age of 25 (an I'm not taking away from them as they were good) and it is a complete mismatch. The NHL puts so much focus on numbers it clearly shows that the games that are played are forgotten. Thomas had terrific numbers yes but he also played just over 50 games not 72. As Ranger fans we have the privalege of watching an absolutely fantastic goalie night in and night out and it will not be long before he finnally recieves the credit he is long since over due. I watched all the Habs games during the run to the playoffs being from outside of Montreal and I can tell you that althought Halak was great during those two first rounds (completely dead tired and ineffective in the Conference final) the team in front of him did all it took to win and scored timely goals when they needed to (unlike the Rangers). The Caps played confused and the Pens looked tired .. 40 saves a night some of which were fantastic but he also got goal support and good defense as well. I truly believe that Lundy provided all he possibly could have to allo the Rangers to win that series against the Caps lastr year and if it wasn't for the biggest bonehead move by the linesman in overtime of game 4, robbing Dubi and Gabby a 2 on 0 they proobably could have pulled through.. the tying goal in game one was a fluke and in the replay the ref actually had his whistle in his mouth ready to blow it but since it was OVY he was allowed to hack at Lundy til the puck went in.. I know these are excuses and ultimately the Rangers need some goals but Id rather be saying that after a playoff loss then "damn we need a goalie" its alot easier to go from 2-3 goals per game then from 2-4 or 5
The Rangers give Hank 0 goal support and unless that changes he'll still put up good numbers but not great ones. Still remember that stretch where we gave him 3 goals in 3 games and we got 5 points ALL because of him? If Hank keeps it up for a while his number will be on the rafters at MSG with hopefully a stanley cup banner too.
@andrewstamant29 Don't think you'll get many arguments here.
The turning goal in the final game, the Caps were offsides.
@KingBadaBing Just hope he doesn't become the Don Mattingly of the Rangers.