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Entries with the tag: chad johnson

Lundqvist Questionable For Tomorrow’s Game Against the Penguins

From New York Rangers’ beat writer Jesse Spector of The Daily News at The Blueshirts Blog:

Lundqvist did not practice today back in Greenburgh, as his neck remained stiff after last night’s third-period collision with Benoit Pouliot of the Canadiens.

“I am getting ready to play,” Lundqvist said after the Rangers’ practice. “That’s still my goal, but we’ll see how it feels later.”

Lucky for Lundqvist, it’s not only a short flight from New York to Pittsburgh, but the Rangers travel on a chartered jet, like all NHL teams. So Lundqvist would not have to go through the process of airport security, which can result in further neck strain while removing articles of clothing at the TSA’s insistence, like, say, a hooded sweatshirt. Something that could happen to anyone.

Anyway, the Rangers will hope that Lundqvist gets a good night’s sleep and that his neck feels good enough to play tomorrow afternoon. If not, Chad Johnson will make his first start in the NHL this season.

Click here for more on the Rangers’ starting netminder.

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  Tags: chad+johnson, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers

Biron the right man for the job

Over the past few seasons, goaltenders who filled in for New York Rangers’ starting netminder Henrik Lundvqist did not work out so well.

There was Steve Valiquette, who seemed to never be the same after allowing a 2-0 lead to slip away in Toronto to the Maple Leafs back in early November of 2008 and then faltered early in the 2009-10 season as well. Then, there was youngster Chad Johnson. Johnson was not terrible but was not ready to handle a full-time backup NHL goaltender role.

Today, the Blueshirts no longer have that problem as Martin Biron seems to be the right answer. In 17 games (15 games started) this season, Biron is a remarkable 8-6 with a 2.13 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. With statistics like those, it is no wonder that head coach John Tortorella is not afraid to give Biron back-to-back starts.

On Saturday and Monday, despite losing both games, Biron showed that he is more than capable of playing extremely well and giving his team every opportunity to win a hockey game. In Montreal on Saturday afternoon, Biron was solid in making 27 saves on 28 shots in a 1-0 loss to the Canadiens.  On Monday night against the powerful Detroit Red Wings, he made 32 saves on 35 shots in being the team’s best player on the ice.

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  Tags: chad+johnson, henrik+lundqvist, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, steve+valiquette

Lundqvist and Biron: The Perfect Combination?

In the National Hockey League, good goaltending is everything.

Just look at what the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia utilized to get to the Stanley Cup finals this past season. When looking at the New York Rangers, however, Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron could be considered as great and above average.

Since joining the NHL and the Rangers in the 2005-06 season, Lundqvist has been everything and more to the Blueshirts. He consistently ranks in the top five and ten in goaltending statistical categories and has helped the team make the playoffs four out of the past five seasons. Ranger pundits and fans alike will expect more of the same from the “King” in the upcoming season.

Martin Biron was primarily the backup to Dwayne Roloson last season on the New York Islanders and struggled on a pretty terrible hockey club. However, prior to last season, he provided above average goaltending for the Philadelphia Flyers in leading the team to the playoffs in back-to-back years. In one of those seasons, he led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Penguins.

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  Tags: chad+johnson, henrik+lunqvist, john+tortorella, martin+biron, new+york+rangers, steve+valiquette

Johnson Poised in Loss to Thrashers

Do the New York Rangers have a backup goalie they can rely on?

Well, they certainly did last night in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Atlanta Thrashers, where goaltender Chad Johnson made his first career start. Despite the loss, Johnson was quite impressive in making 31 saves and giving his team a chance to win a hockey game, which is what a backup netminder is supposed to.

Johnson was poised, was rarely out of position, made first and second saves and let the puck hit him. He reminded me of former Ranger goaltender Corey Hirsch when he made his debut against the Detroit Red Wings back in 1993 in a 2-2 or 3-3 tie.

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  Tags: atlanta+thrashers, chad+johnson, new+york+rangers

Rangers’ backup Goalie Situation a “Mess”

From Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants:

On the backup goalie situation: “It’s a mess. Let’s call it what it is, it’s a mess. Honestly, I talked to Valley (Steve Valiquette) at the beginning of the year, we were looking to get him 15-17 games. That’s what I like to do, especially that Hank’s going to be there in the Olympics and all that. Would I still like to do that? I don’t know if I can. Johnson’s going to get a game here along the way, I think that’s going to determine how we go about this. Has it changed? It had to change. We sent a veteran backup down and he’s still struggling down there and we don’t even know what we have with Johnson as far as a backup. I’m not trying to paint a lousy picture but that’s the picture it is. It’s an ongoing thought in my head what we’re going to do. That’s the best I can do.”

Torts is certainly right. With the way the team’s defense looks like right now, Lundqvist is going to continue to get peppered and at some point, Johnson will need to be thrown into the fray so show the organization what he can do.

Gross thinks that the team should put him in against the Islanders next Thursday night at the Coliseum. What do you folks think?

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  Tags: chad+johnson, henrik+lundqvist, new+york+rangers, steve+valiquette

Some Thoughts on Chad Johnson

Ever since watching him excel in pre-season, I’ve been curious about what Chad Johnson has to offer the Blueshirts in the regular season. I didn’t think I would find out this season but with Steve Valiquette struggling in both NY and in Hartford, my question may be answered soon enough.

From watching him in pre-season and from looking at his numbers in the AHL, Johnson seems to have the potential to be a starting goaltender somewhere in the NHL. I am not sure if that will be with the Rangers but the he definitely deserves a look.

Stan Fischler had the following to say at MSG.com:

Merely an afterthought on the Rangers’ roster at Autumn training camp, Chad Johnson suddenly has become more than a Blueshirts asterisk.

With the New Yorkers confronted by a sizzling Blackhawks team in Chicago on Wednesday night, goaltending IS now an issue for John Tortorella.

The coach is watching Henrik Lundqvist with an Argus eye, wondering whether his grande-goalie still is King – or on the road to abdication.

Should the latter ultimately be Torts’ response, Johnson certainly will be thrust into the Big Apple crease cauldron.

Click here for more.

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  Tags: chad+johnson, new+york+rangers

Some Call Ups

According to Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants, the team today officially called up defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen and goaltender Chad Johnson from the Hartford Wolf Pack.

You may be wondering why Heikkinen was called up because I certainly was when I first heard about it. However, Gross reports that Heikkinen was called up to replace the injured Wade Redden. I thought that the team would bring back Bobby Sanguinetti but according to Gross, head coach John Tortorella likes that Heikkinen, like Sanguinetti, is offensive-minded. He impressed in training camp back in September and through 24 games with the Wolf Pack, he has 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists). Let’s see what he can do on Broadway.

For more from Gross, click here.

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  Tags: chad+johnson, ilkka+heikkinen, john+tortorella, new+york+rangers

What Does It All Mean?

As I mentioned to you folks in a blog yesterday, the New York Rangers placed backup goaltender Stephen Valiquette on waivers and at the same time, claimed Erik Christensen off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks.

To be honest with you, I am not sure what to make all of this. On one hand, the Valiquette move makes a lot of sense. He was clearly struggling (2-3, 3.74 GAA, .852 SV%), allowing soft goals and not keeping his team in games, all priorities for an NHL goaltender.

If Valley clears waivers and gets sent to the Hartford Wolf Pack, he will surely some significant playing time and be given a chance to get his game back in order in hopes of being sent back up to the big leagues. He’s had success in the AHL before so there is reason to believe that he will show the same professionalism and success at that level again.

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  Tags: chad+johnson, erik+christensen, new+york+rangers, stephen+valiquette

Rangers: Strong in Net

From Andrew Gross at Ranger Rants:

Johnson told me earlier this afternoon his goal is to make the Rangers (which should be the goal for everybody who stepped through the doors this weekend, no matter how realistic or unrealistic that might be).

But with Steve Valiquette under contract for one more season as Henrik Lundqvist’s backup, the Rangers are set. Johnson could compete for one of the two Hartford spots with Matt Zaba and Miika Wiikman, both who played for the Wolf Pack last season. Or, he could start the season at Charlotte (ECHL). But even based on just a few scrimmages/two preseason games, it seems obvious that Johnson has a chance to quickly move up the organizational goaltending ladder.

“I think, for me, the more I can be around and be with NHL caliber players and shooters, I’ll get used to the speed of the shots and the game,” Johnson said.

The Penguins chose Johnson, who had a 1.66 goals-against average and a 14-16-5 record for Alaska-Fairbanks last season, in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. But Johnson said he didn’t think the Penguins organization was a good fit for him in terms of opportunities and was prepared to wait until Aug. 15 this summer to become a free agent. Instead, the Penguins sent him to the Rangers in a trade that pleased Johnson for two reasons: He knew there was more of a chance to move up in the Rangers’ organization and he would have the chance to work with goaltending coach Benoit Allaire.

Click here for more. Nice to know that the Rangers have some depth in goal. Let’s see how it plays out this season.

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  Tags: chad+johnson, new+york+rangers

Youngsters looking good

The New York Rangers may have dropped their second straight game in pre-season (3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils) but they certainly got impressive performances from some of their youngsters, in particularly defensemen Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto and goaltender Chad Johnson.

It’s nice to see a Ranger blueliner who is not afraid to rush the puck up the ice, show some moves and put the puck on the net. The goal he scored to make it a 2-1 game should show the Blueshirt brass that he has the poise and determination to create offense, something the team has been missing since it lost Brian Leetch in 2004.

Del Zotto also had a strong performance, even showing that he’s not afraid to go deep in the offensive zone in a four-on-four situation. He’s constantly looking to create offense and that is something that head coach John Tortorella likes to see from both young defensemen Gilroy and Del Zotto.

“They make subtle plays,” Tortorella told Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants after the game. “It’s not just always off the glass and giving it back to the other team. They’re looking to make a play out of the end zone so we have control. They’ve done a good job in a lot of minutes that we’ve given them the past couple of games.”

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  Tags: chad+johnson, matt+gilroy, michael+del+zotto, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers

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