Kukla's Korner

Goal Line Report

The “King” of NHL’s Masked Men

When it comes to the Vezina Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL’s best goaltender after every season, there is one netminder who has been up for it three times and has yet to win.

With the way this particular goaltender is playing right now, fate might have a different answer for him come near the end of June. Of course, I am talking about New York Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

The 29-year-old netminder has simply been outstanding for the Blueshirts this season. In 28 games, the “King” is 17-7-4 with a 1.92 goals against average (GAA), a .937 save percentage and 3 shutouts.

The statistics mentioned above have him in the top 10 in many of the significant goaltending categories. Lundqvist is fourth in the league in wins, third in the league in golas against average, fourth in the league in save percentage and fifth in the league in shutouts.

Lundqvist has been this way since joining the NHL in the 2005-06 season (year after the lockout). In fact, Lundqvist has been one of the league’s most consistent netminders since the season and is currently in pursuit of his seventh straight 30-win season, which would mean that he has had 30 wins in each of his six seasons in the league.

The Swede is one of the team’s most popular players and is loved by all Blueshirt fans. At Madison Square Garden, chants of “Hen-rik, Hen-rik” can be heard on a nightly basis when he is between the pipes for his hockey club as he consistently plays well in front of the home fans.

Lundqvist has done almost everything a hockey player could dream of. He has won championship trophies in his home country, he won an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, he has played in two NHL All-Star games, has been up the Vezina Trophy three times and recently just won an outdoor hockey game at the 2012 Winter Classic between the Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers.

The only thing that is missing for Lundqvist is the Stanley Cup. If he continues to play the way he is playing right now and the Blueshirts follow suit, that Cup might be his sooner that both he and we realize.

For now though, Lundqvist should be considered the top goaltender in the NHL. Yes, Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins), Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings), Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings) and Brian Elliot (St. Louis Blues) have all had terrific seasons but in the market that Lundqvist plays in, he has been the most impressive.

Filed in: | Goal Line Report | Permalink
  Tags: brian+elliot, henrik+lundqvist, jimmy+howard, jonathan+quick, new+york+rangers, tim+thomas

Comments

DocF's avatar

Almost, but not quite as impressive as Jimmy Howard. 

Lundqvist still plays way too deep in his crease.  He is weak high on his stick side.  Gee, those are the same complaints that everyone said about him in his incredibly good rookie season.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 01/03/12 at 12:57 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

I like his “king”-sized pads.  smile

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 01/03/12 at 01:43 PM ET

JBytes's avatar

I like his “king”-sized pads.

I’ll bet they’re legal.  If skaters can play with the maximum allowable stick length, then there should be no complaint [or wisecrack] about a goalie who uses the biggest possible pads.  Mind you, I do think all goalie pads are too big, but that’s discussion for another time.

Posted by JBytes on 01/03/12 at 02:34 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Lundqvist is a total stud and playing as the Rangers’ goalie is no cakewalk.

It’s true that he does play back far in his net but he makes it work. Definitely worthy of Vezina consideration.

Posted by SK77 on 01/03/12 at 02:40 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Mind you, I do think all goalie pads are too big, but that’s discussion for another time.

Posted by JBytes on 01/03/12 at 11:34 AM ET

Exactly. I think Lundgvist is a decent goalie, even one of the better minders in the league, but he’s beatable up top more easily then alot of ‘em…so…you get the idea.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 01/03/12 at 03:16 PM ET

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About Goal Line Report

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 patrickhoffman3530@gmail.com.