RANGER REACTION: It’s Time To Bench Henrik Lundqvist, Stats on Hank Thus Far, & Why Cam Talbot Deserves a Chance

How To Sum Up Hank’s 2014-15 Season Thus Far

For the new readers that have followed me since I started this DOINOW.com endeavor, you had to know this article was coming. For the people who aren’t aware, I urge that you please check the right hand of the site, and check out the archives. I’ve already said my piece on Hank before. If you don’t have the time read it, let me just say this and get it out of the way – I do not hate Henrik Lundqvist. I just hate his contract. I did a full article on why already, so if you get the time, check out the archives.

Just want to mention and plug a few things before continuing. Several people have emailed/tweeted asking for straight Ranger reports, as opposed to my opinionated reviews. Some have asked where I get the cool Ranger T-Shirts. Here’s a few links and places I like to check out for different Ranger opinions and for merchandise.

WEBLEEDBLUE.com – is the best non-official team merchandise place there is. There are several rip-off sites doing what they’re doing. I guess it’s hard to be upset about that, since WEBLEEDBLUE isn’t hitting off any of the players with the profits they make either. However, WEBLEEDBLUE is really for the fans by the fans. I’ve got about 10 of their shirts. They are priced right and these guys are all about the Rangers.

BLUESHIRTSUNITED.com – it’s more of an official site, but for straight facts and reports, this is a good place to go. It’s on the Rangers app too.

RANGERS.LOHUDBLOGS.com –  Rick Carpiniello does an amazing job covering the Rangers all year. Jim Cerny may be a name many readers are familiar with, but Carp is my favorite Rangers writer. I don’t agree with him all the time, especially on the Hank vs Talbot issue, but he argues his points astutely and is passionate about the team. His post-game reports/reviews are usually dead-on.

AL TRAUTWIG’s Twitter Page- @ALTRAUTWIG on twitter is probably something you wouldn’t expect me to plug here, but his sharp wit and gameday facts makes me check his page before every game.
I should probably charge my phone!

In my last few Ranger articles, I don’t think I have made a few things clear. I love the Rangers. I respect what Hank has done for this team. However, you can not deny the fact that he’s been horrible this year. Trying to defend Hank out of loyalty to your team is commendable, but once you take the blinders off, it’s hard to ignore how terrible Hank has performed this season, considering he’s the highest paid goaltender in the NHL.

There is nothing better than a live NHL game compared to all the other major sporting events out there. As mentioned in other articles, I have budgeted my money so I can attend 30-40 games a season. Ranger tickets are not cheap. It’s disgusting what they charge, and again, in another cheap plug for the archives here at DOINOW.com, I’ve done a piece on why I think the NHL will lose the younger generation, due to these high ticket prices. 

The tickets aren’t the only thing that is expensive. Beers are over $10 a pop at MSG. It’s a $20 round-trip LIRR ticket for me. A Rangers game usually can be a $100-$200 night very easy. I know the Rangers can’t win every game. However, to see Henrik Lundqvist get demolished 6 times live this season, has been infuriating. From getting killed on opening night, to being embarrassed by the Islanders, and now with these three Tampa games, he’s been exposed as having more holes in him than a building in Ferguson, I feel that KING CONTRACT owes me a partial refund.  After all, the Rangers jacked up ticket prices once again this season. I’m indirectly paying his salary. How about breaking off a piece and sending it back my way?
While spending $1000 for a Montreal vacation was fun, I had higher hopes for Hank that day

Let’s do some numbers breakdown here:
Henrik Lundqvist has no Stanley Cup’s, but is the highest paid goaltender in the league at $8.5 million/per year. That’s more than two-time Stanley Cup Champion  Jonathan Quick. That’s more than other Cup winners like Rask (Boston) & Crawford (Chicago). 

Henrik’s 7 year deal, which means he will be paid handsomely until the age of 39, takes up 8.1% of team payroll. So when Hank says he wishes he had more help and “I want to win at all costs,” just remember, Hank makes more money than any other goalie in the league and takes up the most percentage of team payroll than anyone else in his position. You want to be paid? Fine. Just don’t give me the “I just want to win” crap, because obviously an extra million or two that you could’ve just made through endorsements anyway, is more important than securing better pieces to protect you. 

As of this writing, 12/3/14, the NHL season is nearly 33% over. I’m sick of hearing about how Hank has slow starts. Then don’t pay him for 100% of the season!

How about these numbers, about a guy Metallica wrote a song for. I believe it’s called “KING NOTHING!”

“KING” Lundqvist ranks 27th in the league in Goals Allowed Average, with a 2.70. I’m surprised it’s even that low.
“KING” Lundqvist ranks 63rd in the league in Goals Allowed, with 51 fucking goals in 19 games!
“KING” Lundqvist ranks 33rd in the league in Save Percentage, with a pathetic .905
“KING” Lundqvist has lost every shootout he’s been part of. Skilled goalie? He’s more like a Swedish Slug when it counts back there.

Furthermore, his contemporaries? Lundqvist gets $1.5 million dollars more than the second highest paid goalie, Pekka Rinne in Nashville.  Nashville is in first place in their division. The third highest paid goalie is Tuukka Rask, from the Boston Bruins. The Bruins have won a Cup in recent years & are in fourth place in their division.  The fourth highest paid goalie is Carey Price out in Montreal.  Montreal is one point behind first place in their division. 

It gets worse. Cheaper goalies have been producing light-years ahead of Lundqvist this year. Marc-Andre Fleury, once the butt of everyone’s jokes, has his team in first place. He’s played well all season. Halak from the Islanders has given the franchise life again. He hasn’t even lost a shootout & is 6th in the league in GAA. In Florida, the pathetic Panthers currently have two goalies playing phenomenal hockey in Roberto Luongo & Al Montoya. Neither one could sniff Lundqvist’s contract.

So when the Henrik Lundqvist apologists are done talking about the past, come join me in present times & let’s look ahead to the future. Listen – Lundqvist has been a solid hand for the Rangers. Is he a compiler? Is he overrated a bit because he plays in NY? Maybe and maybe.  I can see both sides of both of those arguments. He will never be Mike Richter here, until he gets a cup. Don’t get me wrong either. I’m aware, without Henrik, the Rangers don’t make the playoffs most years. In fact, if the Rangers had the Lundqvist of the 2012 playoffs, during last year’s run,  I think they win the whole damn thing.  The argument of, “The Rangers started slow last year too” is irrelevant as well, because the Rangers started the season with a 9 game road-trip against many eventual playoff teams. This year, the Rangers have played more home games than anyone, and they haven’t even gone on the west coast yet, where they usually struggle.
Is he worried about high priced hair item he will purchase next? You won’t see that on MSG in 60.

Goaltender Brian Elliot, of the St. Louis Blues, has been playing well this year. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury and will be out for a bit. In response, the Blues signed perhaps the greatest goaltender of all-time, long-time Ranger nemesis, ex-Devil, Martin Brodeur. (If you want to say Roy is the greatest, I won’t argue, but Brodeur/Roy are a 1-2 on any list.)  The Devils, looking ahead to the future, didn’t re-sign the best player in their franchise’s history. They let one of the best goalies of all-time walk. As a Ranger fan, I’m disappointed in Brodeur’s exit. He deserved that Jeter like ending with the Devils.

Regardless, Brodeur is now with the Blues. The reason I bring it up, is because I love his contract. He is getting a $700,000 base pay and he gets $10,000 per point. So when he helps his team in the standings, he gets $10,000 for a shoot-out, $20,000 for a win. A FUCKING INCENTIVE FOR WINNING! WHAT A NOVEL IDEA! Imagine if all players were forced to sign deals like that? If Hank wants to make his $8.5 million a year, let him earn it by getting W’s, instead of these recent doors-blown-off-shit-shows he’s subjected to the paying Ranger fan.

It’s tough for Ranger fans to pile up on Lundqvist. I know I was one of the first and perhaps the engineer of the Cam Talbot fan-train. I’m starting to hear a lot of chirping from people at games and even on the Rangers official facebook page asking for Cam. And why not Cam? Is one man’s ego and contract worth the entire team? If a pitcher is getting smacked in the 2nd inning, you pull him. If it becomes a habit, you pull a start from him. If a QB is struggling, you make a change. Why not see what you have with Cam Talbot, especially in a contract year? If he’s great and better than Henry, in the year 2014, you have a great piece of trade-bait. You can’t trade Henry, since no team in their right mind would sign Henry to that deal outside of Sather & the Rangers.  It’s bad enough that guys like Hagelin,  Staal, Zuccarello & others will be free agents next year. There might not be enough money to go around because of Fat Cat Hank. See if he’s a man of his word when he says “I just want to win” and see if he’ll take a pay cut. 
You know this picture would be included in this!

I probably said it at least 100000 times before Monday’s fiasco – Cam Talbot should’ve been starting against the Lightning. Hank gave up 9 goals in 2 games against a team that features many of his former team-mates. Another 6 went in on Monday, giving Hank a 5 GAA against the Lightning in a span of 14 days. Maybe they got him figured out. If anything, other teams will take notice from these three games and these three games are the blueprint on how to beat Hank.

How many fucking leads will Hank blow this year? I am also sick of hearing about last year’s run as well. Let’s take the fan blinders off for a second. It took the Rangers 7 games to beat a back-up goalie & against a weaker seed in the Flyers. Hank quickly went down 3-1 to the Penguins, and if it wasn’t for Marty St. Louis & perhaps the passing of his mother, the Rangers are done in the second round. The Rangers dodged a major bullet when goaltender Carey Price went down for the series in game 1.  Even in the Stanley Cup, the Rangers led every game, only for Hank to blow it and lose three OT games. Stop calling yourself a fucking king, it’s embarrassing! 

How can anyone in their right mind say that Henrik should be the highest paid goaltender in the league? I get it if he won a Cup. You get that right. You don’t get second questioned. But more often than not, especially in these last two seasons, Hank continually hasn’t lived up to expectations nor to his contract.

I’ve been saying “IN CAM WE TRUST” for a while now. Why not let him get in a groove? Get Henry mad. Maybe it will give him some motivation. Maybe he will do less commercials and TV shows about his boat and put more time on the ice. Maybe he’s hurting from a long season last year that included the Olympics and a Cup run. Then again, if you need rest,  don’t ask to be the highest paid goalie in hockey.

There was no fucking way Hank should’ve started that game Monday. There were no stats or evidence to suggest Hank in net. The Rangers gave him a lead and three goals. Within minutes, Hank gave it right back up and Swiss Cheese Henrik was in full effect. I get that Hank is primadonna with all his Maybelline & whatever other modeling commercials/ads he’s doing, but it’s time to crack the whip. His play is not acceptable for the money he’s getting paid. It’s a wonder that the Rangers currently hold a playoff spot right now. Just imagine if Hank didn’t blow leads and could win a fucking shootout this season? They would be neck-and-neck with the Islanders, instead of worrying about 3-4 teams knocking them out of a playoff spot.

In half the games Talbot has played this season, he’s produced two shut-outs. Both shut-out wins came against the Flyers. When Hank got in the net the next day, he proceeded to blow a lead and give up 2 goals. I’m not saying Talbot is Wally Pipp here, but it’s time for the kid to get more time. At least you can see what you have with him for the future and hope that it fires up Henry. I’m frustrated & sick and tired of watching Henry do his silly angry hair toss after every easy goal that goes by him. 

On the flip-side, if Cam Talbot was to get more time and he stinks up the joint, at least it will end the Talbot talk. It will make Henrik much more valuable. The Rangers have nothing to lose, except for a bruised ego, if Talbot was to play more.

Talbot better be starting in Detroit on Saturday night. It might be time for a real king to sit on a throne.  While I know AV won’t go against Henry, the best thing Ranger fans can hope for is Tanner Glass to give Hank the mumps. 

In closing, I just want to know, when does AV, Sather & the rest of the fanbase hold Hank accountable for this shakier than Michael J. Fox 33% completed season? When they miss the playoffs? For NY fans, hockey is all we got with the terrible Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks & Nets. Are Ranger fans going to sit by idly, while Hank lets in everything and anything, like a drugged-up hooker at 2 AM?  Voices are getting louder, but it comes down to AV voicing out.

In either event, win, lose or a Henrink shootout loss,  LET’S GO RANGERS! This team has the tools to make another special run again. It’s just so frustrating to see the current product.

Feedback, death threats and the like can go to:
Sean McCaffrey
@NYCTHEMIC on the twitter

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