Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/03/13 at 02:11 PM ET
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
All right, Alain Vigneault has had his little romance with Cam Talbot, and it is difficult to blame the coach for sticking with the hot hand for Monday’s game against the Jets even if it meant sticking Henrik Lundqvist on the bench again.
But the dalliance with the backup and the genetic engineering being applied the Rangers’ goaltending situation has to end, and end now.
This isn’t a reflex response to Winnipeg 5, Blueshirts 2 at the Garden. This is simply stipulation that the Rangers have no chance to reach their ceiling — whatever that may be — without Lundqvist at his best, and in order to be his best, Lundqvist needs to play … and play … and play in order to get into the rhythm to which he and we have become accustomed over the last eight seasons.
For it is not about one game, not about giving the team its best chance to win one game, not in December it’s not, and not if winning the battle might ultimately undermine efforts to win the war. It is about giving the team its best chance to win over 82 games, even if that means taking one step back to take two steps forward.
The Rangers are stuck in the middle. They don’t have enough top-end talent to play a skill-oriented game. They don’t have anywhere near enough size or muscle to impose their will on anyone. Their identity is anybody’s guess.
added 2:20pm, from Andrew Gross of Ranger Rants,
Alain Vigneault put the Rangers through a spirited, high-paced practice that lasted nearly an hour today and then put the onus on his veteran group of leaders to play consistently in order for the team to finally become more than a .500 hockey club.
“If we are going to get some traction and get past that .500 level, we need our top players to consistently play like top players,” Vigneault said. “Not a period in, a period out. Not a game in, a game out. We need that core group, the leaders of this group, to perform accordingly. And we have not done that on a consistent basis and on a game to game basis. Just look at our lineup, look at our core group and look at our key guys and there’s the answer.”
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