Lots of news from practice today, but none bigger than Alain Vigneault's decision to start Cam Talbot for a third game in a row tonight in Washington D.C.
Vigneault said this regarding his decision (via Blueshirts United)...
"Cam's played well, won his last two games and I thought it just made sense to come back with him. I'm looking at this like we are trying to win some hockey games. We were good in our last two games, our goaltender was good, and I'm trying to do what is best for us to win tonight."
To Henrik Lundqvist's credit he remains professional with this response to a third straight seat at the end of the bench...
"I didn't expect a change...in the end it's about the team...it's a tough balance because I want to play"
...i've had my fair share of criticisms for AV, but you've got to be impressed with the gumption he's showing going with the hot hand over the struggling franchise goaltender. Especially in an arena in which Lundqvist has given up just one goal in the last three games played there (Games 5 & 7 last year & Oct. 16th this season). To me, this proves that winning trumps all when it comes to the Rangers new head coach.
...we all have our own theories about what's wrong with Lundqvist, but the bottom line is that he's going to need to figure it out and figure it out soon if he wants to remain the Rangers starting goaltender.
In encouraging injury news, Marc Staal skated with the team this morning and said if he's able to practice in full tomorrow, he might be able to return as early as Sunday in Tampa.
...the defense has been a real strong spot the last two games, so similar to when Callahan comes back, AV's going to have a tough decision on who comes out.. The obvious healthy scratch is Del Zotto, but I've got to be honest, he's been pretty damn good the last two games.
Finally, Ryan Callahan skated after practice in sweatpants and a knee brace. He's hoping to be back in the lineup by January 7th.
And Henrik got that contract for a reason but hasnt lived up to it so far. Back up is just a title that can easily be erased.
I would have started Hankie tonight. He plays the caps well and seems like a good win after a week off could have given him a nice fresh start.
Boys lets not get overboard here, what short memories we have. Lets not kid ourselves here. we need Hank to get it going short term and long term if we have any shot at success especially since he signed the contract already. Talbot is a nice story but hank is our guy. It was only 7 months ago where he had back to back shutouts in games 6 and 7 to keep us alive. dont let one small sample size impair your judgement. If this doesnt work who do you think will win this battle Hank or AV??
Im going to the game tonight, so im kinda bummed that I wont get to watch Hank play. But at the same time, I think Talbot is going to give us the best chance to win right now.
I won't go as deep into thought as I did on the other post but it seemed I made my post just as this one was put up so I doubt anyone's gonna read it. It may be crazy, but I think putting Cally on the 4th line with one of Moore/Boyle and Dorsett could be a smart and effective move.
Hey...it should be a meritocracy - pure and simple. This ego stroking and hand-wringing over an athlete's confidence truly makes me sick. Name another profession where that crap would fly? From salesperson to surgeon, from animals on the Serengeti to professionals in NYC it is results that keep you in play. You eat what you kill. Play the players that are winning you games until they don't, and then play someone else. If any of them are so paper-mache that they can't handle it, laugh them out the door.
Good to see Staal back on the ice. He may want to play against Tampa, but that doesn't mean he has to. An extra few practices at full speed with the team can only help his timing, conditioning, and comfort. I don't think its a hard decision to say he should start over Falk or DZ, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Still a few weeks to go with Cally, plenty of time for someone else to get injured or start struggling. With Miller playing better down in the middle than on the wing, Cally's replacement becomes more interesting. Richards has slipped a little, but I don't see him getting benched for Cally. Wouldn't mind seeing Boyle sit for a game or two.
I think its the absolute right move to go with Talbot tonight, but I am slowly getting more and more baffled by the whole goalie thing. What's AV going to do when the camera's start to follow Hank around leading up to the Stadium Games? Who is going to start the Stadium Games? Will they split them? I know winning comes first when it comes to the coach, and it should, but this could get awkward/messy, and a lot of it could be driven by the media. Someone needs to reel Uncle Larry in and tell him to ease up on the goalie controversy stories for the next few weeks. I think after the Stadium Series games, they should let Hank take a mental health break, fly back to Sweden for a week prior to the Olympics and really disconnect. Then play out the Olympics and come back. The Olympics maybe the reset button that Hank needs at this point. Different team, different drivers and motivators. Get back to playing for pride instead of profit. I think Hank grossly underestimated how the defensive scheme change would affect his game. Part of that may have been stubborness, and part may have been AV communicating to Hank and Benoit Allaire.
I live in the DC area, but am heading out of town so not only will I not be at the game I probably won't even get to watch it since I'll be in the air...
I for one give talbot the start tonight as well. You rode hank for awhile... I ride talbot til he loses. Then once he does split them until Hank shows he can truly handle the load.
@JoshKayeCut & paste your other comment on this thread.
@SmellyKisioTalbot's too old for rookie of the year.
@johnnyb3910Brooks has definitely been going overboard. But that's just par for the course for the New York Post.
@Kevin DeLury@JoshKaye I've thought about what would happen when Cally comes back and I have an interesting thought that many people may not agree with. Our team has been better as of late and it's been nice, but I don't think we can afford to sit Richie even if his play has been mediocre. We all love Cally, but he's at his best when he's with other players who can forecheck well and when he plays an aggressive game. Boyle and Moore bring a similar skillset to the Rangers, and at some point we're gonna have to choose between one or the other. A 4th line of Cally-Moore/Boyle-Dorsett could be a great defensive/checking line that has a much higher potential to score than what we're currently seeing right now. Yes, Cally has skill. Yes, he's getting paid more than any 4th liner should. Yes, he's our captain. But doing what's best for the team is important. He can play the game we love to see him play. This is under the assumption that we're still playing well and rolling four lines. I'm expecting to hear a lot of criticism. So let's hear it.
@JoshKaye@Kevin DeLuryI actually don't think you are off base with this one, and in fact it's the logical move for when he gets back from injury while he's gaining his game, which means AV won't do it. I've been posting my opinion that Cally is a 3rd line player (as a compliment to him) long before it became popular here because his game personifies that blue collar torts era mentality. His in your face, defensive checking style is perfect for a bottom 6 roll and add to that he can score.With injuries, repaired shoulder etc. he can't be relied on to equal his best season of 11/12 (I think he scored 29), and imagine how good we would be if he wasn't relied upon to carry the offense, or even be in the top 6. . In today's game the 4th line is similar to what the 3rd line use to be so why not? Other than the diminished ice time I like it and your idea certainly warrants consideration.
I for one actually like the idea. Sure, it's misusing him a little bit, and maybe handcuffing him offensively, but he could still rack up plenty of minutes on the top PP and PK units. But like you said, it could finally give us a 4th line that could chip in a goal, play decent minutes, and let our coach roll 4 lines. He would be way overpaid for a 4th liner, but that fits the mold of this team. Hank, Richards and Nash are overpaid for their production. Hell, Pyatt and Boyle are just plain overpaid by being employed. If nothing else, it may be a good way to get him in the line-up without messing with chemistry, and if a line needs to be jumbled you could shift him up. I agree that when you try to put Cally with too much skill he loses a piece of who he is. Forechecking and hardwork by one player can be utterly useless on a line with the wrong compontents.