Going For Broke: Rangers All In on 2015

183666930

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.

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.

Shark Bait: San Jose Blows 3-0 Lead

Once again despite their talent, the Sharks are out early

Once again despite their talent, the Sharks are out early

What a difference a week makes! After embarrassing the Los Angeles Kings in three consecutive games,  the San Jose Sharks once again gave their fan base the illusion of a Stanley Cup Contender. They had even done the impossible, make Jonathan Quick, one of the games best goaltenders, look like a turnstile with 17 goals to open up the series. However, the Sharks forgot that you have to win four games to advance.

After a 4-3 victory in LA for game 3, the Sharks folded like a cheap accordion. Forget about a collapse, talk about an implosion. In their final four games San Jose was outscored 18-5, and even that makes it sound closer than it actually was. Watching their pitiful performance last night, it was apparent that this team wasn’t even close to playing inspired hockey. Forget about still on the bus, the Sharks looked like they never made the trip back home. One thing is clear, the Sharks time is running out. In what can only be described as the decade dynasty of Despite this, in those ten years they have never played in a Stanley Cup Final and have lost in three conference finals even with high conference seedings and home ice advantage. Something needs to change in San Jose.

It’s great that the team is in the playoffs, but terrible that they can never deliver. Sharks fans should be embarrassed by the pitiful showing of this team in the playoffs. After this postseason it is clear that the San Jose Sharks are no predator in the National Hockey League. Instead, they are just shark bait for the Western Conference.

All Hail the King!! Lundqvist leads the Rangers

Last year Quick propelled the Kings, this year could be Lundqvist's turn

Last year Quick propelled the Kings, this year could be Lundqvist’s turn

Down 3 games to 2 and facing elimination, the New York Rangers once again  would put the burden on their star 31-year-old goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. What they got in return was one of the greatest performances by a goaltender in recent memory. Lundqvist shut out the Capitals in both game 6 and 7 propelling the Rangers into the second round of the playoffs again the Boston Bruins. Lundqvist shut down one of the NHL’s most potent offensive units at a time when the Rangers offense couldn’t buy a goal.  Not only did his 120 minutes of shut out play save the Rangers season, but also made a statement that no one should sleep on the blue shirts. We’ve seen it before, hot goaltending can propel any team to the Stanley Cup finals. It happened last year with the Kings, who behind the dominant emergence of Jonathan Quick went from the bottom of the barrel as the eighth seed, to the king’s of the hockey world. With Lundqvist’s recent hot streak, this year could be the year that the Rangers finally make it to the Stanley Cup

Lundqvist is the rock the Rangers need to win their first cup since 94

Lundqvist is the rock the Rangers need to win their first cup since 94

for the first time since 1994. While many experts believe that the Rangers offense will be the key for this team, as long as Lundqvist can continue to play at the high level he is capable of, then the Rangers will be in every game. Looking at the other teams in the Eastern conference, there is no question that the Rangers have the elite net minder. Rask, with the Bruins, is a very talented goaltender, but he is very inconsistent. One night he can turn in a shut out performance, but the next game allow five goals. Don’t even get me started with the Penguins. My god, sieves have fewer holes than Marc Andre-Fleury. Despite Thomas Vokoun’s performance, after replacing the incumbent Andre-Fleury, against the Nw York Islanders; he is a glorified backup that still hasn’t been tested. Sure he’s played two great games, but can he really keep up his performance against the Senators? Then the Senators, jeez talk about a revolving door between the pipes. They switch goalies so much I can’t even keep track anymore. Listen, I’m not saying it will be an easy road for the Rangers, because it never is, but the way King Henrik is playing and the recent resurgence of the dormant offense, this could finally be the year that the Rangers get back to the Stanley Cup Finals, and the year that King Henrik finally receives his crown.