No Worlds for Henrik Lundqvist
Sometime last night, Henrik Lundqvist contacted the Swedish tabloid, Aftonbladet, saying that he would not be joining team Sweden at the I.I.H.F. World Championship in Germany next month. The problem is, that’s not all he said.
Straight from the nightmares of every New York Rangers fan:
“I’ve been doing physical therapy for a week but the knee doesn’t get any better, so I have to say no. It doesn’t feel OK to go. It’s both physically and mentally demanding to play in the Worlds when you are not 100%.”
So once again, Lundqvist is having trouble with his knees. This past season was the 4th straight season that Lundqvist played in at least 70 games. It was the 2nd straight season we were told he would start less games so he would be fresher for the playoff push and the playoffs (whoops). That didn’t happen. In fact, Henke played in three more games this season than he did in the 2008-09 campaign. No wonder he was “dead tired.”
I know that bad knees are an inevitability with butterfly goaltenders, but this guy has only been in the league for 5 seasons. He just turned 28 a month ago. If this club doesn’t take care of it’s goaltender, it won’t have him for much longer. Without him, I can guarantee the Rangers wouldn’t need to Tank for Taylor or Sink for Seguin. They would have last place all to themselves.
Teams like the Capitals do well even without a star goaltender because they score almost four goals per game. Scoring 3.8 goals per game while giving up 2.8 goals per game is a heck of a lot better than scoring 2.7 goals per game while giving up 2.6 goals per game. The Rangers only gave up 2.6 goals per game with four defensemen 25 years old or younger (including two rookies) on the roster for almost the entire season. The two veterans were Michal Rozsival and Wade Redden.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Put an average NHL goalie in net for the Rangers and they would be in last place. There is absolutely no question about it.
Hopefully, next season John Tortorella actually does what he says he’ll do and starts Lundqvist less. Auld (or whoever is backing up Henke next season) should start no less than 20 games. Auld is very capable of giving us 20 good spot starts and there is no reason he shouldn’t get them.
The quote can be found on Aftonbladet’s website, but the article is in Swedish. It was translated by a Swedish member of the Hockey Rodent messageboard.
About the author: Eric is a lifelong Rangers fan and is currently studying Computer Engineering at Hofstra University. You can follow him on Twitter: @5holeEric
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