There's been plenty to be disappointed about this season when it comes to the Rangers. Lack of scoring, zero passion and a dearth of toughness. But the most surprising of all the Blueshirts' issues has been the struggles of Henrik Lundqvist.
From his 10-15-2 record, to his pedestrian .906 save percentage, Lundqvist has been a shell of his former self.
One of the theories early this season was that Lundqvist's struggles had to do with the pressure he was under to perform during a contract season.
However, that idea has been blown up as Lundqvist has allowed three goals or more in six of the seven games he's started since signing a seven-year, $59.5 million contract.
Other possibilities thrown around include the use of smaller pads this season and the change to a defensive system that doesn't stress shot blocking.
While those all make for great conversations on Twitter, JB at Over the Whitestone may have hit the nail on the head...
"...the table below highlights the difference in shot distance against Lundqvist between this season and last. Clearly, a greater percentage of shots were taken from a farther distance (greater than 30 feet) in the 2012-13 campaign. The average distance of shots against Lundqvist was nearly a foot greater. The difference in shooting percentage (success of shooters against him) has increased this season as well.
"Opposing players are taking shots closer to the net and with higher percentage of accuracy."
...for those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know I don't use advanced stats and rarely, if ever, utter the words "Fenwick" or "Corsi." But Lundqvist is a super star goalie who deserves a legit explanation of his struggles other than "Lundqvist's weaknesses were sheltered under Tortorella and are now being exploited." That's not fair to him or his skill level.
...more than any reason I've seen, JB makes a compelling case for Lundqvist's underwhelming play this season. It completely makes sense that his numbers would suffer when opponents are shooting closer to the goal and with more accuracy. Throw in the fact that the Rangers are blocking far less shots and we get a pretty clear picture of why Lundqvist isn't putting up the superhuman numbers Rangers fans have become accustomed to.
...by looking at these numbers, it's real easy to conclude that Vigneault's defensive system is the likely culprit. However, if that's the case, why has Talbot been able to succeed despite playing behind the same defensive system and the same players. Welp, if you look at the shot distance against Cam (via somekindofninja.com), you'll see the average distance of the shots against the backup netminder is 35.5 feet which is over two feet further away than shots against Lundqvist which has led to a shooting percentage of 6.5% which is almost 2.5% lower than against Hank.
...why the Rangers play more defensively sound in front of Talbot is likely something advanced stats cannot explain. As I've offered in the past on this blog, maybe it's the rookie's superior puck handling or possibly his calm demeanor. Whatever the reason is, if the Rangers want to see the Lundqvist of old, they're going to need to tighten up in front of their franchise goaltender or the mediocre performances we've seen from the King during the first half of the season will become more the norm than the exception.
No one has faced more shots (287) or won more shootouts (45) than Lundqvist, whose skill in the tiebreaker has been a key for the Rangers during the past eight seasons. His .763 save percentage is No. 1 all-time among goaltenders who have faced 100 or more shots
dont know if neone knows this but in a shootout you can shoot from newhere on the ice as close as u want one on one.... if u wanna test a goalies skill thats the best way... if u want proof of skill these are statistics that prove hes one of the most skilled goalies in the nhl.... something else is going on here.. i cant buy coincidence as the reason we play for cam and not hank
You gotta be kidding me! EVERYTHING in JBs case proves that Tortorella's system made Lundqvist look good, and now he is exposed as a mediocre goaltender. Man, go back and read this out loud slowly to yourself. Geez.
Hank is still an elite goalie, he's just going through a rough patch in his career. Its amazing he got this far without struggling this bad at any point. He will be back. We shouldn't worry. Whats good is we have a very capable backup to help him get his game back.
Lol. The King is done, etc., etc. Once again I will lay it all out for you. He got married and has a kid now. That is the biggest adjustment he has had to make.
He got his strength from his concentration, but now he is worrying about two other people in his life. Who here is married with kids? You know exactly what I am talking about. Now throw in a nagging wife.... instead of him relaxing and meditating... Henrik, have you changed her diaper yet?
It's likely Lundqvist will regain his form, but not guaranteed If he continues so-so netminding this year , he should be traded before July 1 when his NMC kicks in. Lundqvist is the face of the Rangers so why?
Reason 1.A pretty good NHL netminder plus backup from an excellent Cam Talbot is acceptable for the Rangers-they aren't an abysmal team-far from it, actually, despite how fed up we get with them.
Reason 2.The return on a Lundqvist trade could be franchise making- a first round draft pick from a low standing team plus top player/prospects.If we make a good deal, the Rangers would have a new much better team.
3.Teams are getting to the finals with high quality but not super elite goaltending, and there are always new elite goalies appearing every year or two.
If Rangers are going for a rebuild,which is going to happen anyways, they may as well start where its least expected, and think outside the box.
How come nobody brought up the part where he takes the routine save and tries to make it look dramatic. Leaving him out of place and occasionally he even lets a few in. He needs to go back to the basics and stick with them
Why has no one brought up that maybe, just maybe he's not as elite of a tendy as everyone is making him out to be? 2 ft difference in Talbots games should not make that much of a difference in the teams success. Maybe where on the ice the shots are coming from are diff. I don't know. Plain and simple he has played like crap this season. If he's an elite goalie he wouldn't be having this much of a struggle. Cam is outplaying him so keep riding him.
Why is Lundqvist successful when he plays in the world championships? isn't that a different defensive system in front of him? I think it's more a case of nerves and poor positioning.
Great article, Kevin. That is a compelling explanation and somehow more satisfying than the others ...
Don't forget on top of all of this, it's an Olympic year and he's gotta be wondering if he has been playing himself off of that team or into back up in Sochi
The shot distance stats are interesting but lack any real context - two data points don't mean much of anything, regardless of whether it's shot distance, change in LIBOR rates, or LeBrons shooting. How do the shooting distances and scoring percentages compare to hank's entire career? How does it compare to the NHL average and to other elite goalies like Rask? Where are the shots coming from? If shots are 1 foot closer and located in the slot as compared to 1 foot further away and closer to the side boards, then I think we have something to talk about.
I don't buy the smaller pads argument either. I'd like to see a heat map of where he is being scored on but I'd bet that 5-hole isn't the first or even second highest area. High glove side, within about 12-16 inches from the crossbar, is probably bright red.
In my opinion, the problem is between his ears, not anything physical or team related.
My Theory: Smaller Pads, Torts System & Rangers still can't score. Bottom line, Lundqvist needs help.
The system doesn't work point blank.... the team plays alot different with Talbot. Anyone with half a brain can tell u that. Look at the numbers on shot blocking between the two.. Also they revert back to clapping down to the goalie with talbot....
I don't see a guy like hank getting distracted by off ice stuff. He had Hbo cameras in his face in 12 and he was stellar........the only thing different is the people in front of him. They are playing better in front of Cam bc they think he needs more help.....hence, hank getting shot at from a closer distance.
I just don't see how a foot (we are talking 12 inches here) is the difference. 5 feet maybe? Ill even give ya 4 feet but 12 inche, I don't see it. Hank just isn't playing well right now, no explanation needed. He will bounce back. Just my two cents, which mean absolutely nothing.
Those stats mean nothing. For example if all the shots from the point were taken from 2' closer in it would be almost meaningless as that distance the percentage of scoring is quite low - irrespective of 1-2'. However, if shots from 12' now became 11' then yes, it could make a difference. Without that breakdown the average distance change means zero in terms of understanding Hanks decline in performance. So far as the comparison with Talbot goes...LORD...enough!! The team plays BETTER in front of him??? This is the musing of a Hank apologist. When did THIS become acceptable when assessing a player in ANY sport? How about the team is better BECAUSE he is playing? Saying it the other way is simply another way to deflect Hank's performance issue from where it belongs...on Hank! What other athlete has ever enjoyed such a teflon existence?? Use the Eye Test and tell me that Hank has been ANYTHING but average AT BEST this year.
I think there could be the possibility of the Olympics distracting him a bit this year so far. He's had Swedish media trailing him with cameras for a week or two this season. Should be interesting to see how he plays when he gets back from them.
Very interesting, though I think it's still an incomplete explanation, though I would argue those stats in as a factor. Still too many softies and bad goals this stat doesn't account for. Under torts system D was tighter and there was a lot of collapsing down low forcing the shooter to shoot up high and at less favorable angles. Obviously it worked. However the flip side to this strategy is that hank was screened more by his own players and there were more accidental tip ins off Ranger's sticks. Hank has always given up the occasional softy - guess that's an occupational hazard. He's never had great puck movement and if there has been a weakness at all during his brilliant career it's been that damn high glove side. I feel confident that factors like the aforementioned in the article, as well as other factors has led to the first significant long term slump in his career. He's carried this team on his back for years. He's not over-worked, too old, burnt out, washed up, was never was that good, etc... or any of the other retracting comments I've heard here. He is in a slump period. It happens to them all, Brodeur, Roy, The Dominator etc. etc. have all had head scratching slumps during the course of their long storied careers. Hank is in a slump, probably being exasurbated by these findings. A goalie can stand on his head when you need and steal one for you but in the long haul a sound defensive system must be in place to support that goalie for maximum success. He can't do it alone every night. The Rangers need to modify their system. too many odd man rushes and point blank shots. Also Hank needs to work with the coaching staff, get his alignment better as is common with slumping goalies he's over reacting at times and out of position at others, and for 8+M a year he needs to actually work at becoming a competent stick handler as it does make a difference. Hank will be back. Long live the King! great article Kevin!!!
@JoeyChik look at his shootout statistics.... thats basically the best way of testing a goalies skill level.. actually ill just quote nhl.com on this
No one has faced more shots (287) or won more shootouts (45) than Lundqvist, whose skill in the tiebreaker has been a key for the Rangers during the past eight seasons. His .763 save percentage is No. 1 all-time among goaltenders who have faced 100 or more shots -- although he undoubtedly would like another crack at the season-ending goals he allowed on a final-day shootout at Philadelphia in 2010, a loss that kept the Rangers out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
@richmichnatenoah right dude just looks tired to me u can see it in his face.. he had a fuckin beard last game on the bench... he needs to be single
Yeah, but the frightening part is imagining him on a team like Chicago or Pittsburg. They would be almost unbeatable!
@Say my NameNice additions "Say" and appreciate your insights as always. I agree with you in principle and I like this line especially
"How about the team is better BECAUSE he is playing?"
I wonder if it's an attitude thing more than his game. Hank has been seen jawing at a lot of players this year and has seemed upset at times where as Talbot just quietly plays a solid game and does his job.
They have no intention of doing a full rebuild. Talbot is a valuable piece to have , but make no mistake, he's Hanks backup, It's Hanks job. I'd like to see the Team that plays in front of Talbot show up when Hanks in net.Look at the Kings, they're 3rd string goalie has won 8 in a row. (look at these goalie Numbers, Man!)http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/teams/statistics/?hubname=nhl-kings
Granted Quick has won a Conn Smythe & a Stanley Cup, and is hurt, but that team plays in front of their net minder every night.
Hank is the face of the Franchise, he wasn't going anywhere. Its almost foolish to think otherwise. And that's not a entirely hockey related decision. I also think he will find his game and pinning the savior pin on Talbot may be a bit knee jerk. If he does play well and a Team thinks he can be a legitimate #1, guess what, he's got more value than Hank on the trade market than Hank. (see the Bernier deal from the Kings to the Leafs last off season)
Caps going up yearly so that 8.5 isn't going to sting as much as you'd think. I also think, he's going to retire before the end of this deal & the Cap Advantage number s would be minimal with the cap continuing to escalate. Worry all you want but Hank is here to stay.The team needs to play better in front of him and support him, like he's carried that team on his back for stretches at a time over the last few years.I don't think he's done, burned out, etc... it's a bad stretch on a bad team.
Side note. His NMC does not kick in until the extension does. So if insanity prevails, he could, in theory be moved. I wouldn't order my Talbot jersey just yet though.
@BetweentheworldsAs I say below, increase in difficulty of shots has led to more goals and ultimately destroyed the guy's confidence.
mmmm...I don't about shootouts being the best way to test a goaltender's skill. Shootouts aren't the norm over the course of an entire season, and certainly not in the playoffs- wins and save% are the norm.
JB points out that in Tortorella's system there were more blocked shots and the shots were coming from further out. And now, this author wants to blame the new system because Lundqvist can't stop the pucks but Talbot can? That doesn't even make any sense.
I see and hear so many fans blaming this player or that player for not being able to play in Vigeault's system. How about we add Lundqvist into that conversation? Based on JB's assertions it is clear that he can't. He even says so.
You want to talk about the past? OK, fine. In the past, Lundqvist was a Vezina-calliber goaltender under Tortorella's system. Now, he's not- and rightly pointed out by JB and his stats.
Its true he would be tough to play against, but to get good players you have to trade a good player.Even with Talbot looking ordinary tonight, I think moving on from Lundqvist is an idea that has to be considered.Ranger's need a very high draft pick and trading a great player is the only way to get that.Remember, goalies are replaceable-easier to find than elite forwards or defencemen.
Why you "shaking your head" ?? You got some sort of issue? A problem? Why don't you explain yourself "doctor" Mando? Explain to me the physics? Would love to hear it. E=mc2? Is that it?
A Foot is not a lot. Angle? Really? Hank just is not playing well.. THAT'S IT. Nothing to explain. It's not that guys are a "foot" closer and have better fuckin angles...
@Kevin DeLury@Betweentheworlds IDK - This is a guy who's made a living by making the impossible point blank saves night in and night out. I can't argue with that reasoning and am sure it factors in but if his confidence is that fragile that it's been "destroyed" then his detractors are right and he's no superstar. I don't agree with that but just saying. Superstardom comes from having a superior mind as well as being the most highly tuned athlete and the most skilled at your game. For a goalie 2 out of 3 ain't bad but just won't cut it. This year we will indeed see if he really is a King or merely just a highly skilled athlete. How an athlete handles adversity speaks volumes (would have been good to know before shelling out $1000 million).
I have found as a teacher, coach, parent, lover,manager,sports fan,media leader that knowing "why" someone underperforms goes a long way in improving the performance of those I care about....and that would include Hank.
I would,very much like you, never play an under performer. I have never done that in the past and do not plan to change now. I always hold my people (and that would include anyone I care about from family to friends and everyone in between) to a higher standard. Very frankly, I have found that to be the very easy thing to do if one simply stops there.
For some reason though I am a sucker for some additional "magic." I just crave "the magic" that takes place when two people work together in a relationship to improve performance of one or both. For me there is nothing like that! For me that magic beats any magic out there. I opt for that "magic' every time.
It is O.K. for you not asking "why." My only invitation to you is if and when you have kids always want to know why and always bring "Your Magic." to them........always.
Hey Big, in none of my posts, be it here or anywhere else have a taken any position on WHY Lundqvist is underachieving. I have only pointed out that he IS underachieving. Frankly, I don't care why. I don't care what his issues are- pads, wife and kids, money, or what suit to wear. I just want to see this team win, whether it's with Henrik, or Cam. The only stance I'm going to take and forever maintain is, if you're not playing well, you sit, and we put in someone else.
I've said this to a number of people- if Lundqvist can rip off 5 wins in a row then I'll get off his ass. Right now, he can't even get to 1.
1)performance is measured by the production of measured results and The King has definitely underperformed!
2) In trying to improve anyone's performance we might ask what determines the performance of an underachieving player. Since the beginning of time most people would then answer the present circumstances that surround that player (new coach, new system, new linemates etc.) determines the performance of the player.
3) Respectfully, notice we all point to changes in the circumstances of The King as the reason why he is performing in a very sub par way.
4) Just take note for a second How McD's game has improved under the very same circumstance that have "diminished" The King's performance
.5) The only two factors that determine how I perform or how you perform or how The King performs in any circumstances is How a person THINKS and how a person FEELS about those circumstances. To improve anyone's results one must change the way we think and feel about circumstances. New thoughts and new attitudes will produce new results.....always....always....always. REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES
6) Some of you might remember a Hall of Fame Center for The Hawks named Stan Mikita. One year Mikita led the league in penalties while remaining a Hall of Fame producer for The Hawks. He was a real S.O.B.He made Bobby Clarke look like an altar boy on ice.
The very next year to everyone's surprise Mikita wins The Lady Byng trophy for the most gentlemanly while still putting up Hall of Fame numbers. Mikita explained his change in penalty minutes by saying his young daughter was taking a lot of grief from her classmates about his on ice behavior and his penalty minutes. She begged her dad to change his ways. Mikita simply but so powerfully, changed the way he thought about hockey and penalty minutes, adopted new attitudes in his day to day work in hockey and produced new results.
7)To change your results in life one has to willfully choose to think and feel differently about their circumstances. You can't change circumstances.....If you look at Kriedar, Zucc. Hags they all changed the way they thought about their game and improved results happened. The King is having confidence issues (negative thoughts and negative expectations about his own performance and his own results) Until he chooses to change that kind of negative thinking he will continue to achieve the very same negative results he is fearful of achieving. MY MONEY IS ON THE KING!
Totally right. I played goal and learned this from experience.
Hey guys we all wear the same uniform and we all want to win. We are all on the same team. Even the enemy shakes hands after each playoff round. Be cool with each other and build around our common passion for The Rangers. WE ARE ALL TEAMMATES!
Hahahahahahaha. You're dumb. Smh. When you said "smh" it clearly means that you thought I was an idiot and that offends me. You only wish you had my life so I would stop there.
You're just plain stupid and wrong, I'm done with you. Answer all you want.
Dude u really gotta laugh here u took this shit completely personal and went on on a rant.....did I offend u? Curse at u...? Insult u? Smh... i have the explination. .. As I saw fit to a question that was posed. ...u like or don't like the response. Is clearly irrelevant. Cause ur u have ur opinion I have mine..... example used by softball is a clear distinction of distance and what's perception of speed when compared to baseball and shorter distance.
Read my post i never said ever goal... lol did que go back to my hole.
Clearly u were offended. .. in some way. Or ur feelings were hurt... but I will use ur words...and is SMH offends u and gets u all riled up buddy. Like some one stuck a candle prod up ir ass. U need a fucking life... getting twisted on a smh typed response...
@mando24179 you have no idea what you just said. Are you a pro hockey player, a goalie coach? How about a far distant relative of Plato, Socrates or Leonardo Di Vinci? Maybe even Albert Einstein long lost nephew? No?
Spare me your bullshit.You're the little shit that rides the short bus. Its guys like you who think they know everything but they don't know shit. Hank is having a bad year, BOTTOM LINE. Players have bad years. Stop trying to make some god damned made up calculation with Speed Vs. Distance = YourAss.
And furthermore, your softball analogy is stupid. Pitch a softball at 45 feet then again at 44 feet. Tell me the huge difference. If you want to "calculate" and break it down to a tiny fraction, obviously its going to get their a bit faster but how much faster? Enough to notice? Enough to ruin Hanks entire season. Every damn goal was 12 inches closer and thats why Hank is having a bad year?!
Go back to your hole and dont come out. I'm done with you. Don't ever patronize me and "SMH" me again. I have an opinion and if I want yours, Ill ask for it.
This is no disrespect to Kevin @thenyrblog This was just my opinion earlier and said it was my two cents.The article was very interesting but I just disagree. This is still 'Merica last time I checked.
@EHBIGAPPLE@mando24179 LOL...I know this wasn't directed at me but I had to respond. If you're going to be a patronizing prick you'd damned well better be right. "...the actual speed of the shot increases." err...and YOU were the one who brought up physics and the little bus??? Too funny! That kind of statement would have you destroyed mercilessly for an entire season in our locker room. I'm all for ball-busting so plus one for enthusiasm, but minus several million for follow through. Peace out Dr. Mando! ;)
He is the explination..... follow carefully
Hanks best friend is distance....Due to the fact he plays deep in his net.. allowing him to react a little bit later. .. now u Close the gap by 1 foot.... The actual speed of the shot increases...and now the angles and net are more evident. .. Due to Hank not coming out to cut down the angle making him bigger and the net behind him smaller. .
But in Hanks case it works in reverse. He becomes smaller and now certain areas are exposed.. case and point players shooting for top corners over shoulder and glove hand...
Concept works out ad it does in baseball. Mound is 60 feet. Soft ball about 45 ft. Fast pitch come a in slower rate but seems faster due to shorter distance
Anyone that's ever played will tell u exactly what I said. For those non players they would have a clue about closing the distance adds speed and opens up the angles unless the goalie comes out to cut it down.... and Hank doesn't...He plays deep in his net..
For those wearing the helmet and ride the little yellow bus.... it's beyond ur understanding so I apologize
AV is to stupid to realize u play to ur teams strengths. Not change things and create weakness where there wasn't any
@Betweentheworlds@Kevin DeLuryI have been and will always be a die-hard NYR fan. If The Rangers would have been strategically managed by a Lou Amarillo with his systems (minus the choking trap!) we would be much closer to the Cup. The King flourished under a defense first team and we got fairly close to the Cup in the process.
Sather then went back to his Old Offensive Super Star Oiler ways and brought in Softies like Gaborik, Richards and Nash changing the entire "feel", culture" and Identity of the Team.
Goalie is the emotionally most difficult position to play in hockey. How does a goalie make up for a mistake? He can't score a PP goal to make up for his disappearance in his own defensive zone. So many people here dismiss the man's greatness........so many here are writing his obituary.......how about some appreciation....some encouragement.....some "we believe in You, King."
As betweentheworlds says this is a slump. The King is 31 Yrs. old. He is not 41 YRS OLD. One thing for sure The King will regain his form
. He will regain his confidence AND HE WILL NEVER PUT UP THOSE KIND OF GREAT NUMBERS AGAIN PLAYING UNDER AV's system. So I don't upset too many people here we need to return to Sutter's (that's the name I was thinking of) system with L.A. and concentrate on getting more 15-25 goal scorers who play a tough game on both sides of the puck!......and get rid of Richards, Nash and Boyle, have Step swallow a bottle of tough pills or trade him for a tougher center and send Brassard for a physical and mental overhaul.
The Rangers defense is fine playing "the old system" Anyone will tell who played this game is that you can't have a tough D without having a tough offensive.