Despite some key injuries, the New York Rangers have won three straight games with Antti Raanta in goal, so whats the problem?
If you have ever wondered why being the head coach of the New York Rangers is a tough gig, just ask Alain Vigneault.
The team has won three games in a row, Antti Raanta has collected two shutouts, the team is in second place overall, yet the Rangers are surrounded by more drama than 42nd Street.
Let’s shoot down the common theme right away: there is no controversy.
There just isn’t. This is the NHL, not youth hockey, and the players which are going to give the team the best chance to win, will play.
Right now, Raanta is one of those players.
Is Henrik Lundqvist unhappy with the situation? I hope so. If he really is the competitor which we all believe he is, then he should be more motivated than ever to prove that he is indeed the King of New York.
There is no question that Lundqvist is the better goalie. Raanta is however, playing better than Lundqvist right now.
To be completely honest, something has been different with Hank over the past year and a half. Last season, when his team was mediocre at best, Lundqvist looked visibly frustrated and could been seen yelling at his team on a consistent basis.
For the past year or so, Hank’s body language has spoken much louder than his words, even though he often yells at the team when they aren’t playing well.
His shoulder shrugs, net flipping, and visible sighs are all qualities which Ranger fans are not used to seeing.
It’s almost as if Lundqvist has become a pouter, as if he’s saying, “I had my chance to win a Stanley Cup and I never will with this team.”
Now am I saying that these are the thoughts that are going through Hanks head? No, but he does looked defeated at times.
So will Hank pick himself up and return to his King-like form? I think so.
Hank is not only a great player and competitor, but he also has an ego the size of the city itself and he certainly will not allow his image to be tarnished.
In the very end, who cares how Hank feels? When it comes down to it, his feelings do not matter. What does matter is that when he returns, he plays up to his potential.
Everyone has a humbling experience at some point in their career, and Henrik Lundqvist is no different. But it is how you respond to the adversity, rather than the adversity itself, that defines a person.
The upcoming weeks will be telling about Lundqvist. Is he truly a team player, or is he about himself?
Being consistently outplayed by your backup net minder is something which Hank hasn’t experienced before-these are uncharted waters for him. Having said that, this is not a controversy, but rather an opportunity for the Swede.
Meanwhile, the Rangers’ fan base should rest easy knowing that their team has two very capable goalies and the noise about a goalie controversy is just that-noise.
The Rangers are in the business of winning, not charity.
Just because Hank has been the foundation of the organization for over a decade doesn’t not mean he is immune to scrutiny or being benched in favor of the better player. Having said that, Henrik Lundqvist will be just fine.
Let’s leave all the drama to the Broadway performers.