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Posts Tagged ‘henrik’

Well now that my beloved Rangers are hitting the links, I have to decide which team I want to see win the Stanley Cup.

Eric, you’re going to root for an Eastern Conference team, right?

Nope! I was pulling for the Flyers to beat the Canadiens because, let’s face it, I don’t like the Canadiens or their fans. They can be a little… pompous. I also wanted the Flyers to win so that they would play the Rangers and we could get some revenge for booting us from the playoffs in 1997. But now that the Rangers are out and the Penguins are in, do you actually think I’m gonna root for our 2 division rivals?

I guess you have a point there. So now how do you decide between the Red Wings and the Stars?

It’s pretty simple. I just don’t like the Red Wings. At all. I was happy that Osgood and Hasek had amazing seasons. They helped me to second place in my fantasy hockey league (damn you, Marc!). But honestly, they are like the Duke basketball team of the NHL. Unless you are affiliated with them in some way, you don’t like Duke. The reason I actually root for Duke is that Marc went there. That, and the Drexel Dragons suck. Seriously though, they labeled themselves “Hockeytown.” Hockeytown? That’s like the Cowboys being labeled “America’s team.”
So I will be rooting for the Dallas Stars to win the Cup this year. Mostly because Henrik’s twin brother Joel is on the Stars. But also because of the reasons above.

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Despite being down 2-0 in the series, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is feeling optimistic.  Here’s the exact quote:

“It feels like the difference between these two teams is not that big. It could be one bounce that’s the difference. . . . We should go back to New York and put more pressure on them. I think they looked a little better than they are.  I know we can put more pressure on them. We’re going to do that in New York and we’re going to get the win.”

The obvious parallel here is with Mark Messier’s 1994 game 6 guarantee.  This is different, but the truth is that the goalie has more of an impact on the game than any one skater.  So, if Henrik is feeling confident, then I’m feeling confident.

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Henrik Lundqvist, along with Martin Brodeur and Evgeni Nabokov, has been named as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. The Vezina goes to the NHL’s top goaltender during the Regular Season.

Evgeni Nabokov finished the regular season with a 46-21-8 record, a 2.14 GAA, a .910 SV% and 6 shutouts. This is Nabokov’s first nomination as a Vezina Finalist.

Martin Brodeur has now been nominated as a Vezina Finalist 8 times. He has won it 3 times in his career. Brodeur finished the regular season with a 44-27-6 record, a 2.17 GAA, a .920 SV% and 4 shutouts.

Henrik Lundqvist has now been nominated as a Vezina Finalist 3 years in a row. That is, every year he has played in the NHL. Maybe third time’s the charm? Lundqvist finished the regular season with 37-24-10 record with a 2.23 GAA and a .912 SV%. He finished the season with 10 shutouts to lead the league.

Here’s how the fans are voting at ESPN.com.

1) Who should win the Vezina Trophy?
42.5% Henrik Lundqvist, Rangers
36.3% Evgeni Nabokov, Sharks
21.2% Martin Brodeur, Devils
Total Votes: 21,096

You can cast your vote by clicking here.

All 30 NHL GMs vote for the Vezina Trophy and the Winner will be announced on June 12, 2008 in Toronto.

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The Rangers play the Flyers for the eighth and final time this season tonight at the Garden. The game starts at 7:30 and is on ESPN OLN Vs. Good thing I’ll be there!

Here’s what the lines will look like:
Straka-Dubinsky-Jagr
Shanahan-Avery-Dawes
Callahan-Drury-Prucha
Sjostrom-Hollweg-Orr

D is the same and Henrik Lundqvist gets the nod.

Scott Gomez is Day-to-Day with bruised ribs.

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With tonight’s win, the Rangers extended their “unbeaten-in-regulation” streak to 11 games! (thanks Sam Rosen for coming up with a nice way to put that), and the Rangers have positioned themselves to make a run at a high playoff seed. Check out the standings here. With the exception of about 10 minutes in the 2nd period, the Rangers looked like far and away the better team.

After watching Lundqvist struggle for a few games, I mentioned he would probably get back to basics in practice, and he was truly fundamentally sound throughout tonight’s game. In terms of positioning, he was pretty much perfect, highlighted for me by his beautiful save staying tall in the net at the beginning of the 2nd period 5-on-3. It wasn’t a flashy save, and you won’t see it on any of the highlight shows, but that was one of those harder-than-it-looks great saves.  You can’t blame Lundqvist for the Islander’s lone goal, which was a double-deflection off Malik’s leg and then Rozsival’s skate. Nothing you can do about that.

In the last 5 games including tonight, Marek Malik has 1 G, 4 A, and a +5 rating. Those are some pretty swanky stats.

The Rangers and Islanders will have another home-and-home series on April 3 and April 4.

**Note: the following has nothing to do with hockey**

A sarcastic congratulations to the Islanders fans, who have sunk to a new low, taking a page out of the University of Maryland fans’ playbook, punctuating the ubiquitous Gary Glitter “Hey!” cheer with a clever and classy “You Suck!” Of course, by clever and classy, I really mean mindless and contemptible. Hey Islanders fans, do you really want to be copying the Twerps? I mean, they are known around the ACC as the least classy and least clever fans. Why don’t the Islanders fans just start throwing beer bottles at player’s mothers? (Like some Maryland fan did to Carlos Boozer’s mother in 2001. Although, to be fair, if my team blew a 10-point lead in the last minute of a game against our biggest rival, I would be pretty ticked off myself. Check out the youtube clip: Miracle Minute). I warned you that I had basketball on the brain.

gary-glitter-3.jpg

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gortonsfishermanstill.jpgRematch tonight.

This time it’s at the garbage dump of an arena the Islanders call home. Seriously, I’m from Nassau County… and that monstrosity is the best thing we have to name after ourselves??

Anyway, the Rangers are going with the exact same lineup from Tuesday, which means no Strudwick, no Hollweg. Apparently, Renney has something against guys with W’s in their name.

I’ve been hearing a lot of grumbling about Lundqvist and his less-than-stellar play of late. I’ve even heard some people calling for Valiquette to start. My response: relax! As it turns out, Lundqvist is human. That ‘S’ on his chest does not stand for Superman (it’s just the ‘s’ at the end of Rangers). Playing goalie is a streaky business. You might go a few games where you feel it would take a superhuman effort to put the puck past you, and then you might go a few games feeling like a piece of swiss cheese that just passed through a sieve (if that is even possible). Whenever I am not playing my best, I just try to focus on the basics. Get in good position. React, don’t think. Etc etc. Lundqvist has some great goalie coaches working with him, and I feel confident he will back to his usual self pretty soon — maybe even tonight.

The word so far is that Dubliewhatever will be back in the net for the Islanders tonight. But, there have supposedly been a few Double-Penetration-ietro sightings around the Mausoleum. Would you be surprised to see D.P. out there at game-time? I wouldn’t be.

There were also a few reported Gorton’s Fisherman sightings on the LIRR this afternoon… look out.

P.S. I am so freakin’ excited for Duke-UNC on Saturday that it’s really the only thing I can think about. If anyone has something that resembles a coherent thought on tonight’s game, go ahead and post it.

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Maybe I’m missing something here… but why in the world would a team choose to shoot first in the shootout? I don’t get it. More on this game later today.

Ok, I thought about this one a little more.  And, I still don’t get it.  I see the point that if your team scores first then it puts the pressure on the other team to match.  Ok, point taken, but let’s be honest, it’s a stupid point.  There’s a reason the home team in baseball gets last licks.  It’s an advantage.  Shooting last in a tied shootout is like having the opportunity to hit a walk-off homerun.  There is no reason for a team to relinquish that position.

As for the game itself, it really kills me to lose a game like this.  The Rangers had a nice comeback to get the game tied, but I felt that the Rangers fell behind in the first place because they had no puck luck at all.  The Rangers definitely outplayed the Islanders for the entire first period, only to give up a fluky late goal off Rozsival’s skate.  The Islanders 3rd goal was also kind of fluky.  Lundqvist struggled to play the puck (thanks to the stupid trapezoid rule) and after the puck popped around to the front of the net, the Islanders simply threw the puck towards the net and it trickled in off a deflection through Lundqvist’s legs.

Lundqvist did not look sharp for a lot of the game.  Don’t get me wrong… I think he played well, especially in the shootout, where he made some awesome saves — the right pad save on Comrie was pretty unreal.  I’m just saying that for most of the game he didn’t look particularly sharp.   As a goalie, I can tell you that there are times where you just don’t feel as sharp as you would like.  Maybe you’re fighting the puck a little, or maybe your head is not in the game.  Whatever it is, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re playing poorly, but when fluky goals are going in off the inside of your skate or trickling in through your legs, you’re not playing your best.

Is it me, or does Backman look a little overmatched on defense?  He was out of position on several occasions, and that was just on Rangers in 60.  Plus, there was a play late in the 2nd period where he threw a blind pass behind his own net that went directly to an Islander and led to a scoring chance.  I’m not impressed with his play so far and I’d rather see Strudwick for a few games, at least until Backman has had more time to practice with his new teammates.

The Rangers penalty killing gets an A+ for this game.

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Maybe the defense was asleep. Maybe the refs forgot the rules of hockey. Maybe Christian Backman got 10 penalty minutes (6 officially but it was him that made Cole’s face bleed, not Marc Staal. See second “maybe.”).

But does that really matter? Henrik played pretty well and Malik of all people had a sound game. He threw at least TWO HITS! And, oh yeah, we won!
The young’uns again showed us why they are still playing in the big leagues. Dubinsky completely fooled Ward with a beautiful deke to his backhand that he buried top shelf (Props to Jagr for the steal and the blind drop pass to set the whole thing up). Callahan stood up for himself by fighting Conboy. Dawes looked like he knew where everyone was on the ice at all times. Especially when he set up Shanny for the go-ahead-by-two goal.

***

Fredrik Sjostrom and Christian Backman played their first games as Rangers last night. Sjostrom played on the fourth line with Betts and Hollweg and played very well. He even made a nice drive to the net that needed a fair bit of effort on the part of Cam Ward.

Backman played alright except that he took quite a few penalties. He was the cause of 10 penalty minutes even though he was only charged with 6.

Now this doesn’t mean that I’m throwing him under the bus. I’m just waiting to see him play a few more games. For all we know, he was a nervous wreck last night. Hell, I would’ve been.

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After a three day break, the Rangers get back to work tonight in Carolina. The Hurricanes are playing pretty well going 7-2-1 in their last 10 and 3-1-1 in their last 5.

Two of the four newest Rangers will be in the lineup tonight. Fredrik Sjostrom will take Colton Orr’s (chest pain) place on the 4th line and Christian Backman will skate in Paul Mara’s (head) place next to Marc Staal.

The last two times the Rangers have had a long break, the first team they played after was the Sabres. The Rangers won both games (5-1 and 4-3). Before that, their last long break came during the All-Star break. They played the Hurricanes and lost 3-1. The Rangers are 6-2-2 in their last 10 and 4-0-1 in their last 5 with that “one” being the game against Montreal.

The lineup should look something like this:

Avery-Dubinsky-Jagr

Dawes-Gomez-Shanahan

Straka-Drury-Callahan

Hollweg-Betts-Sjostrom

Rozsival-Malik

Tyutin-Girardi

Staal-Backman

Lundqvist

Petr Prucha is “good to go” but coach Tom Renney says, “we want to give our new guys a chance to play.”

Maybe Sunday against Philly?

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Remember that time we won the Gold Medal?Lundqvist, Backman, Sjostrom, oh my!

Or as Jagr joked, “Swedes everywhere.” As the Rangers get ready for their first game without Malik Jagr Mara Prucha Hossa, we find out that two of the recent acquisitions may very well be playing tomorrow in Carolina. According to Sam Weinman at Rangers Report, Christian Backman skated with Marc Staal (replacing the injured Mara) and Fredrik Sjostrom was skating in place of Colton Orr on the fourth line.

Don’t worry Jagr, Czechs still outnumber Swedes five to three.

Beat Writers boycott Avery?

Recently, Sean Avery has been avoiding the press. Not just avoiding, but making an art of it. At one point he claimed to have laryngitis. Magical laryngitis that disappeared when he hit the ice but reappeared when reporters got near him.

Today during practice, he skated over to the corner of the rink where the writers were stationed. He pointed to John Dellapina of the Daily News, asking him if he wanted to talk saying, “We’ll do a rotation. One guy a week.” Dellapina declined so Avery turned to Weinman saying, “OK, what do you want to ask me? Is there really anything earth-shattering you need to know?” Weinman also declined.

Tired of waiting his turn, Steve Zipay from Newsday asked, “Is there a reason you haven’t talked for three weeks?”

“No comment.”

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