The Camundrum: Should Talbot Start Over the King?

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Talbot has been sensational since taking over the starting role

When Henrik Lundqvist went down earlier this year with a neck injury many Ranger fans felt that the injury would derail the team’s season. While Lundqvist is expected to return next week to the lineup, it may not be an easy return for the King.

Many expected that New York’s season would take a dive after losing their star player. Instead they have thrived behind their young goaltender Cam Talbot who has made it very interesting for the Rangers moving forward.

Talbot has been spectacular in the goal helping propel the Rangers into first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 17-6-4 record, 2.19 GAA, and .926 save percentage. Currently, Talbot’s statistics, including winning percentage are higher than Lundqvist’s totals this season.

There is no question that Lundqvist is still one of if not the best goaltenders in the NHL. However, after suffering a severe injury like the one Lundqvist is a hard one to overcome quickly. When he is on, there is no question that Lundqvist is the team’s starter. Still, he needs to prove that he is 100% healthy before New York relies on him to carry the team throughout the playoffs.

If Lundqvist struggles should the Rangers stick with the King or ride the hot hand in Talbot ?

If Lundqvist struggles should the Rangers stick with the King or ride the hot hand in Talbot ?

However, if Lundqvist struggles in his return before the playoffs it might be better for this team to do the unthinkable, bench the King. In the NHL Playoffs it’s the team with the better goaltender or hotter goaltender at the time that makes a run. Given how well Talbot has played this season and if Lundqvist is not at 100%, it makes sense to start the player who gives the team the best chance to win.

Even though the Rangers will probably start Lundqvist no matter how he plays in his return, the organization should keep a short leash on him in the playoffs. If he does not play well in a series, the Rangers should not be afraid to pull their star goaltender and play the hot hand.

The Rangers have the potential to not only make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals, but to win their first championship since 1994. However, they will need strong goaltending to get there and will need to figure out who gives them the best chance to win. The King or Cam Talbot?

Going For Broke: Rangers All In on 2015

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Yandle will provide not only a strong defensive presence, but also thrive in the Rangers’ philosophy on offensive minded defensemen.

The New York Rangers have made it clear, this is the year they are taking their best shot. With not one, but two trades on Sunday, the Rangers traded long-term stability for the pieces that the organization feels can bring the Stanley Cup back to New York since 1994.

After the dust settled, the blue shirts had acquired defensemen Keith Yandle, and Chris Summers from Arizona and San Jose forward James Sheppard. However, the Rangers did pay a hefty price sending John Moore and top prospect Anthony

1b86a97f68d1dd0c4f0f6a706700a4d4_c0-331-4794-3125_s326x190Duclair to Arizona along with a first round pick in 2015 and second round pick in 2016. After trading Lee Stempniak to Winnipeg, New York finished the day by adding James Sheppard from San Jose. In order to acquire his services, the Rangers traded a fourth round pick in 2016 to the Sharks.

The message is clear, the Rangers are going for it. Yandle is the big prize as he led the atrocious Coyotes team with 41 points and will be a valuable sniper on the power play, an area where New york was abysmal in the playoffs last year. Summers will not provide the same fire power, but is a solid defender who will provide great depth at defense while Sheppard provides a solid winger from either the third or fourth line.

By improving their defense the blue shirts will be looking to take pressure off of Henrik Lundqvist who bolt only carried the team to the Stanley Cup last year, but with Lundqvist still recovering from a neck injury, New York has decided to shore up the defensive unit in front of him while providing some more firepower on offense. If Lundqvist is still not 100% when the playoffs begin, then a stronger defense will take the pressure off of the King . The worst case scenario is that the defense will be stronger in front of Cam Talbot who for now will remain the starter in-goal.

While the Rangers may have mortgaged heir future over the next two seasons, it is clear that they have the confidence that the team has the chance to win a Stanley Cup and are going for it in 2015.

Cam Can: Talbot Filling in Nicely for the Blueshirts

Talbot has played great since taking over for Lundqvist

Talbot has played great since taking over for Lundqvist

When it was announced that Henrik Lundqvist would miss almost a month after taking a puck to the throat, there were immediate concerns about who would start for the Rangers in between the pipes. While it was rumored that New York was actively pursuing a trade for a stop-gap goaltender until Lundqvist was healthy is seems that the Rangers have found a solution with their 27-year-old backup.

Since taking over for Lundqvist, Cam Talbot has held his own while ensuring that the Rangers haven’t missed a beat. Talbot is 4-1-1 since the Lundqvist injury and has posted a .918 save percentage this season. With Lundqvist’s health up in the air as the postseason draws nearer, it appears that the Rangers are comfortable with Talbot for the short-term. Cam has been successful in his short career posting a 20-11 career record with a 1.95 GAA since he was first called up last season for the Rangers.

If Talbot continues his strong play for the Rangers, the team may have an interesting scenario on their hands. No, it’s not to replace Lundqvis, but it does give the Rangers a unique luxury. They can use Talbot as a great backup goaltender, or use his value to bring in a big piece for the future. Solid young goaltenders are hard to find in the NHL, and there could be a team that could give the Rangers a few good offensive or defense pieces in return for Talbot’s services.

463466874That scenario is a future one for the club to consider, but in the present the Rangers have to be happy to not have to have to overpay or trade for a journeyman goalie to fill in for Lundqvist. Talbot still has a lot to especially as the number of starts continue to climb. Still, New York fans have to be happy with what Talbot has given them so far and content that he is the answer in the net until the King makes a full recovery.

What’s next for King Henrik?

What next for the king?

Whats next for the king?

He laid there sprawled out across the ice at the Staples Center. A sea of black jerseys clustered around the fallen warrior as he collapsed from exhaustion. After stopping a barrage of pucks all night Henrik Lundqvist came mere inches from keeping the New York Rangers Stanley Cup hopes alive. The New York Rangers Rangers may have missed out on the opportunity to hoist the Stanley Cup, but one big question remains. What does the loss for Lundqvist’s legacy?

Sometimes it’s not great to be king. Days after the loss, it has been reported that the defeat is still eating at the Rangers net minder. Despite setting franchise records for shutouts and wins in 2014, the image of Lundqvist accepting his accolades won’t be the image Rangers fans think of. Instead, it will be the final goal in the Stanley Cup Final that cost the Rangers their first championship in twenty years.

What does this mean for Lundqvist? A championship would help to cement his legacy as an all-time great. However, there is no question that King Henrik is still one of the top three goaltenders in the NHL. Lundqvist played very well in the Stanley Cup Final and was the victim of poor defensive play and a Rangers offense that struggled the entire series to generate offensive chances let alone goals. If it wasn’t for Lundqvist’s performance in goal, the Rangers would have been nowhere close to a Stanley Cup appearance. When the Rangers faced elimination Lundqvist played his best this postseason. Lundqvist has proven that he has been one of the best in the game.

Despite his 43-48 postseason record, Lundqvist’s incredible performances in elimination games proves that he is a clutch goaltender. This postseason it has become clear that he can lead this team to the promise land by putting the team on his back. Now it’s the Rangers turn. They need to get Lundqvist some offensive playmakers to take some of the pressure off of him.

What’s next for Lundqvist? Can he be an all-time great without a ring? Yes, but it will be much more difficult and there will be much debate about how he couldn’t win a championship when net minders like Quick and Brodeur won multiple championships. A championship would be the icing on the cake and would put him in the conversation for one of the top goaltenders of all-time. The quest for the ring continues for the king.

Down But Not Out

Despite the 2-0 deficit, the Rangers are still in this series

Despite the 2-0 deficit, the Rangers are still in this series

After two heartbreaking overtime losses to open the Stanley Cup Final the New York Rangers find themselves in desperation mode. True, they have been able to come back in the playoffs before, but with two more games looming in Los Angeles, if the Rangers want a legitimate chance to hoist the Cup this year they need to win at Madison Square Garden. Despite the losses, the Rangers have outplayed the Kings in the first two games. With a few unfortunate bounces and two clutch game winning goals, one could argue that the Rangers have been the better and more consistent team in the first two games. This would be a different situation if the Rangers lost in regulation by multiple goals or looked outmatched. The one concerning aspect that the Rangers must take from the previous game was their inability to hold the lead. Not once, not twice, but three times in game two did the blue shirts squander a two goal lead. Lundqvist and the penalty killing unit are playing well, but the Rangers need to improve on two things above all else. First, their power play has been atrocious and the team seems to play better at full strength. Second, stop passing the damn puck too much! I swear the Rangers get too pass happy instead of trying to take open shots or drive to the net. When the Rangers have attacked the net directly in this series is when they’ve had the most success. Ever game in the Stanley Cup Final is crucial, but if the Rangers want to beat the Kings and get back track they must win tonight.

Kings Vs. Rangers: Stanley Cup Preview

Kings Vs. The King

Kings Vs. The King

It’s finally here! The Stanley Cup Final is upon us. From the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings have battled through the defending Cup champions and look for their second championship in three years. From the Eastern conference, the New York Rangers have been the perennial underdogs who find themselves in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in twenty years. With talented rosters and very different roads to reach the Cup Finals, the question is who has the edge? Both teams have been up and down this postseason and have been on the brink of elimination. Now we have the battle between Los Angeles and New York City to see who will be the Cup City. Let’s see how these two teams matchup.

Offense: The Rangers have relied on their speed and aggressiveness to manufacture goals this postseason. With clutch goal scoring at crucial times, the New York offense has scored when it needs it the most. However, despite their speed and ability to use their defense as a fourth forward in the zone, the Rangers still do not have the Kings fire power. The Rangers may distribute the scoring, but scoring leader Martin St. Louis has six goals while LA has four players with more than six goals. The Rangers have also struggled mightily on the power play while the Kings have been one of the best teams on the power play this postseason. The Rangers have been clutch, but with LA’s firepower including Marian Gaborik’s team leading 12 goals, the Kings are the better offensive team. Edge: Kings

Defense: Defense can win championships. LA has some of the most physical defensemen in the NHL. LA will have the physical edge over New York, but the Rangers defense is one of its biggest strengths. Not only does the Rangers defense have incredible speed, but their ability to block shots this postseason is a major reason why they are here. This defense has been great taking the pressure off of Lundqvist when it counts. In game six they held the Canadiens offense, one of the best in the league, to eighteen shots on goal for the whole game. With the fewest goals allowed this postseason the Rangers are hoping that the old saying that “defense wins championships” will work for them. Edge: Rangers

Goaltending: This is what will make or break the series for either team. . There is no question that both Quick and Lundqvist are two of the best if not the two best goaltenders in the NHL. With this being such a close call it is in my opinion that whoever has the best goaltending in this series will win the Cup. With that said, I am giving just the slightest edge in this competition to the Rangers. What? Is probably what most of you are saying. It’s understandable you’ll argue that Quick is younger, has a better post season record, and oh by the way a championship ring already. So why does Lundqvist get the edge? One word, consistency. When Quick is on he is the best goalie in hockey, no question. The problem? He has been maddeningly inconsistent. His 2.86 GAA and .906 save percentage is still far behind Lundqvist’s 2.03 GAA and .928 save percentage. Lundqvist did have that terrible game 5 in Montreal, but when the Rangers have needed him most, he has answered the call. Quick has also played his best hockey when the Kings have been backed into a corner too, but part of the reason for that is his poor play in the beginning of some of those series. Jonathan Quick has given up more than four goals in a game five times this postseason. compared to Lundqvist’s four times. This battle is neck and neck and if Quick plays his best, he is better than Lundqvist. However, Lundqvist has more at stake than Quick and is more reliable than Quick this year. Edge: Rangers (Slight)

Conclusion: Rangers in Seven

This will be a close series. One lucky bounce or bad penalty could decide the who will be champ. The Kings do have home ice advantage, but the Rangers have played well on the road with a 6-4 away record. This will be a great series that will go at least six or seven games. While I won’t be surprised if the Kings win, especially with their experience and if Quick is on, the Rangers are my pick. With their clutch scoring, defense, and Lundqvist in the net I believe the Rangers have the slightest edge and will bring back the cup to New York for the first time in twenty years.