Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek-Star is Born

There is a love affair blooming in Madison Square Garden and it's between Prince Henrik Lundqvist I and his adoring subjects, the fans. Last night at the Garden the crowd of 16,000 plus (much smaller I thought) heaped a crescendo of cheers, chants and standing O's in a night that resembled more of a rock concert than a hockey game.

I think the Rangers got more standing O's last night than in all of 2003-04. In fact I know they did. Oh yes, Jagr scored two PP goals, he now has six goals all PP's. Tyutin and Prucha each scored their first NHL goals.

Tom Renney called a key timeout with two quick goals (Jagr) following: The Rangers won their third straight and seven out of potential eight points; and the Rangers continued to play their frenzied style hockey. However the story of the night was the play of Prince Henrik. Yes he made "only" 23 saves but 11 of them were in the 3rd period and no amount of carping by Olli Jokinen about how the Panthers only played 10 minutes in the game. Olli, the Panthers only played 10 minutes because the Rangers were all over you guys and had you backtracking all night.

Now Renney has a crossroad decision to make. Renney keeps insisting that Kevin Weekes is his number 1 goalie. Tom has to change that thinking and change it fast. Lundqvist is no ordinary rookie goalie. He is an experienced, proven goalie and he played last year in Europe. How many goalies in the NHL played last year? Did Weekes play last year? Did Brodeur play last year? Maybe he did but it wasn't hockey. And all of the European players in the NHL played in Europe last year. So Lundqvist got the necessary experience while a lot of top goalies were basically idle. Besides the Prince is fearless. Tom has a tough decision to make that will be crucial to the Rangers chances. From here the decision is easy. But from here the decisions are always easy. So far Renney has been good. Not great but good. Benching Poti was a great move, unfortunately he should stay benched. But he can't be traded if he is benched. But enough negativity this is about our Prince. Henrik Lundqvist I. Long may he reign.

ICINGS: The announced attendance seemed overstated. Many sections of empty seats. Lundqvist has given up 5 goals in four games. Three were by the Devils in the OT loss. Luongo played well in goal but his defense looked overwhelmed against the Rangers. The home and home against the Islanders should tell us a lot about how we are progressing. But I have said that before, haven't I?

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