I have tried not to blog about this for a long time. But I couldn’t hold it in any longer. After watching the Rangers take on the Capitals last night, I had to speak up. The announcers, including Pierre McGuire, had there opinion about Rangers all-star goalie, Henrik Lundqvist. Will the King want to continue his rule in New York during this “rebuild.” The consensus was that he loves New York too much to want to leave. I agree for the most part with their conclusion that Hank loves New York, but I don’t think it’s for the same reasons that they think.
Henrik Lundqvist is a fantastic goalie and I am grateful for everything he has done for the New York Rangers. He has put this team on his shoulders day in and day out. Hank has masked so many deficiencies over the years with his out of mind play, especially during the playoffs. Literally carrying the Rangers round by round. He still is one of the best game 7 goalies in my lifetime. BUT I do have my gripes about Lundqvist and the New York Rangers.
Henrik Lundqvist loves playing in New York not because he loves the New York Rangers, but because he loves the off ice possibilities of what New York brings compared to the other markets. Obviously over the years he has developed relationships that are meaningful and given his competition level, he wants to win here. But he no longer fits in with the culture of the New York Rangers. I have been bringing up the idea of trading Hank for a long time (8 years to be exact). If you look at the fabric of Stanley Cup teams, they are built on offense. The Blackhawks, Kings, and Penguins are all built around their centers and forwards. You build down the middle, not in front of the net. Let me make myself clear again, I absolutely understand how great Hank is.
So throughout the years people usually responded, who would you get to be goalie? My answer is simple, anyone else that isn’t costing me $9 million dollars. You can get two decent goalies for the cost of Hank. You had Talbot, Raanta, and now Pavelec (granted I know he has had his health issues). But you get the point. The Penguins have won his multiple goalies, the Flower and Murray (who was a rookie FYI). The Hawks won with Niemi and Crawford. The Kings had Quick, but if you look at his stats over the years they are not overwhelming, the Cups he has won has turned him elite, not the latter. So with the price of Hank, the Rangers could have gotten a goal scorer, another supporting role which is vital in a playoff run, and a goalie that stops the puck. Again this is my opinion and all the proof I have are the 0 cups Hank has and all the cups the offensively touted teams over the last 10 years have.
Now can Hank win a cup? Absolutely. He is great. Not as good as he once was obviously, but he can still lead the right team to a cup. But the offense has to be complete first. Given the right situation, Hank could be raise Lord Stanley’s Cup. Teams off the top of my head are Dallas, St. Louis, and maybe Philly. You need offensive leaders that are consistent. It’s not easy which is why over the past few years the same teams keep raising the cup.
Now to wrap this up….The Rangers are in a rebuild. They made that clear. Let’s just say this rebuild takes three years. If they are successful, you now have a 39 year old goalie leading the team? Explain to me how this makes sense? You’re telling me that a 39 year old goalie can play 65 games and playoffs and lead a team to a cup? You’re telling me that the Rangers organization isn’t going to rush this process to try to get Hank a cup? They will cripple this promising rebuild if they force the process. The King deserves a cup. He doesn’t need to be a Ranger. If he actually cared about his career and legacy as an NHL goalie, he needs to tell the organization to trade him. As a die hard Rangers fan I thank Hank for everything he has given me. But you can leave bud. Go get a cup somewhere else. Nobody can ever blame you, only respect you for being one of the best goalies of all time and being one good looking son of a bitch. You can always come back to NY and work on your fashion line and modeling after your career is over. New York will always be your home, but unfortunately the job didn’t get done and that was NOT your fault. Well it sort of was, indirectly. 😉