As the New York Rangers players were enjoying their much-needed bye week, goaltender Alexander Georgiev was roughing it out in Hartford.
New York Rangers players have been away from hockey since their Jan. 19 game in Boston (a 5-2 win). The players all went their own way from Sweden to Puerto Rico to San Jose, all in the effort of recharging those batteries.
Goalie Alexander Georgiev was sent to Hartford to keep his skills sharp.
This should in no way be considered a break in any way. The Hartford Wolf Pack are a team mired in their own struggles too and not even the stellar play of Georgiev could help them find a win. Not one win was realized in the five games Alexander was there.
The Wolf Pack played on Jan. 19, a 3-0 loss to the Springfield Thunderbirds when Georgiev made 32 saves. The game was 1-0 in the middle of the second period when the Wolf Pack netminder accidentally kicked a puck at his feet into his own net, giving the Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead at the time.
Georgiev played in the Pack’s 7-4 loss once again to Springfield, this time in Hartford, on Wednesday night as he was credited with 29 saves. It was the team’s third straight loss since Georgiev joined the team. The game was tied 4-4 with 12 minutes to go in the contest, but the Pack week unable to grab the lead.
“It’s unfair to [Georgiev],” Fogarty said to Hartfordwolfpack.com. “He comes down here, and when you play like that it’s not fair to him. And he shouldn’t hang his head because he gives us a chance every night, and it’s on the players to be better in front of him.”
Georgiev’s last performance was not his best as he was pulled in the second period of the Wolf Pack’s 5-2 loss to the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday night. He made 15 saves on 19 shots prior to his night ending prematurely.
Georgiev’s record this year in Hartford is 2-9, but his main focus was to keep sharp and be ready for when the Rangers return to game action on Jan. 29 at the Garden against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Russian goaltender will need to be at his best when he returns to New York this week. The Blueshirts are nine points out of the final wild-card spot with 42 games remaining in the season.
David Quinn announced that he will get the start against Philadelphia Tuesday night to kick off the Rangers post-All-Star second half off the season. The team needs him to have his “A” game whenever he takes the ice to reassure that he fan give Lundqvist ample rest when needed.
Though the possibilities of earning a playoff spot are not expected, the team has plenty of games in front of them. The trade deadline should have no impact on the goaltending tandem of Henrik and Alexander. During the All-Star game, Henrik reiterated his passion for remaining a Ranger.
Henrik Lundqvist today at All-Star Game Media Day: "I take a lot of pride in being a New York Ranger and being a part of that organization. It means a lot to me to have this opportunity to play my entire career for one organization."
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) January 25, 2019
“I take a lot of pride in being a New York Ranger and being a part of that organization. It means a lot to me to have this opportunity to play my entire career for one organization,” he told Dan Rosen of NHL.com (@Drosennhl).
The Rangers schedule will now become more intense as they will be playing teams closer to the playoffs then the Blueshirts with more on the line. The team’s next seven out of eight are on home ice and they only have five road games in the month of February with only one back to back set of games on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, afternoon home games against the Devils and on the road in Washington, respectively.
The team will have to balance the goaltending to keep Georgiev sharp. There are no more breaks between now and the end of the season and the rookie goaltender will need to learn how to be focused when not playing games as the coaching staff figures out what is more beneficial for him and the team long term.
Overplaying Hank in a failed effort to make the playoffs or evenly playing the two goaltenders in order to get Georgiev the on the fly education he needs to be better next season.
This is not a playoff team. The future outweighs the present. Then again, another great run by Henrik and the Rangers can put all the logic and planning on the back burner.