by Patrick Hoffman on 09/13/12 at 08:00 AM ET
When it comes to hockey, there is no doubt that goaltending is a key cog in the machine that makes up a hockey team.
For the New York Rangers, the main cog between the pipes is Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist is everything a team could want in a starting netminder as he is consistent, plays and wins a lot of games, makes key saves at the right time, gets his team into the postseason and more importantly, makes them a contender in what is a very talented Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference.
With that said, it is important that the machine has a backup cog in case something goes wrong with the main one or if it needs to be replaced so that it can rest. In the case of the Blueshirts, this particular cog is back-up goaltender Martin Biron.
Since joining the Blueshirts in the 2010-11 season, Biron has been a netminder that the Rangers can rely on to give them a chance to win when he is between the pipes. In his two seasons on Broadway, Biron has won 20 games, picked-up two shutouts and has posted impressive goals against averages of 2.13 and 2.46, respectively.
While the numbers clearly show that Biron is more than just your average back-up goaltender, there is a lot more to him than just the stats. For starters, Biron's experience as a starting goaltender for both the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers has helped him in his transition to being a full-time back-up NHL goaltender.
This is important because Biron knows how to prepare for games. He knows what it takes to start in games and he knows what he needs to do to be ready. When between the pipes for the Rangers these last two years, his preparation has shown with his steady play when team head coach John Tortorella puts him in net.
Secondly, because Biron was a starter, the team knows that they could rely on him to play a ton of games should Lundqvist ever get hurt. Biron has won plenty of games as a starting goaltender in this league and has shown that at the right time and opportunity, he can take the ball and run with it.
Lastly, Biron is a terrific teammate. He clearly supports his teammates, understands his role and what he means to the club and also knows that with him behind Lundqvist, the Blueshirts have one of the best tandems in the NHL.
Yes, there are some games where Biron will allow soft goals and yes, there are plenty of times when Rangers' fans wish Lundqvist was in net when Biron was starting. That comes with the job and the role that Biron has.
However, one cannot overlook what Biron brings to this team. Biron is a key cog in the Rangers' contending machine and when the puck drops to begin the upcoming season, he will once again be asked to fulfill his role, something Biron has no trouble doing.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.