Monday, February 27, 2006

The Prince Who Would Be King

The procedure went fine. The blockage was cleared and a tumor was removed from the bladder. The tumor was benign. We will follow up with further tests. Thanks for all your thoughts. Now back to hockey.

Yes, Antero Nittymaki, the Finnish goalie was selected as the MVP for the tournament, but when the chips were down and when the game, and the Gold Medal, was on the line The Prince came through big time. With his stick and outstretched leg The Prince deflected a wide open shot from Olli Jokinen away from the net and Sweden had won the Gold Medal. The save will be forever etched in Swedish history and as the years go on it will reach monstrous proportions with the only logical conclusion being that a God had made this save. Lundqvist made twenty five saves giving up goals in the first and second periods. In the third period he was perfect, ten stops on ten shots. In the last frantic seconds he made three big saves including he one on Jokinen.

Henrik Lundqvist and Sweden win Gold MedalThis is more than Lundqvist helping Sweden win a Gold Medal. This performance by Lundqvist cements his credentials as a big game goalie. Any doubts in the minds of Ranger fans about the ability of this rookie goalie to take us to the land called the Stanley Cup should be put to rest. The pressure for Sweden to win was enormous and to erase the pain from past Swedish failures. While most of the Swedish team was made up of veterans in Olympic play the new factor was Lundqvist. And the Swedes knew it, mobbing him after the game. The ghosts of Salt Lake City and the eighty footer that got by goalie Tommy Salo are now expunged from Swedish hockey once and for all.

With sixteen games in twenty nine days the pressure on the Rangers to maintain their hold at the top of the Atlantic Division will be great. In this stretch there are three back to back games. The need for Kevin Weekes to step up in these last twenty four games, eight in April in fifteen days, is huge. He must be crisp, sharp and focused regardless at what end of the ice the puck is. The game has changed. The red line is gone and transitions occur in nano seconds. He starts against the Flyers in Philadelphia on Thursday so we should know soon.

Hopefully Jaromir Jagr is not seriously bothered by the groin injury and will continue his record breaking scoring pace. Not only is he on target to break the goals scored and most points for a Ranger in a season but he could become the first Ranger to lead the NHL in goals scored since Bryan Hextall scored 26 goals in 1940-41. Also, he could be the first Ranger to win the Art Ross Trophy since Bryan Hextall, there's that man again, won it in 1941-42.

ICINGS: Henrik Lundqvist is tied with Dominick Hasek for second in the GAA race. They both have a 2.09 against Manny Legace's 1.99. Lundqvist's save percentage of .927 is second to Tim Thomas's .930.

-- The Tre Kronor (The Three Crowns) --

Henrik Lundqvist with Olympic gold medal - the first crown

The Swedish national men's ice hockey team is called Tre kronor in Sweden. The name Tre kronor means "three crowns" and refers to the three crowns on the team jersey. The three crowns represent the lesser coat of arms of the Kingdom of Sweden and the national emblem.

The Prince has won his first crown. Let's see if he can win two more crowns this year, then he'll truly be a King. The RangerPundit sees this as the Prince's Quest for the Tre Kroner:

footnote: In case you just tuned in, the RangerPundit first dubbed Henrik Lundqvist "The Prince" on October 18, 2005, see: Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek, Hen-Reek-Star is Born. There have been well over three dozen posts where that moniker for Henrik Lundqvist has been used. It's not copyrighted so anyone can borrow it they want, but a small credit would be nice.

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  • Wes Putnam said...

    Getting the Calder Memorial Trophy will be very tough. Ovechkin or Crosby probably have a lock on that.

    But heck, I'd settle for a Conn Smythe Trophy, or even the Roger Crozier Saving Grace Award. Would the William M. Jennings Trophy count in rounding out the trifecta with Olympic gold and the Stanley Cup?

  • Anonymous said...

    There's talk Ovechkin might win the Hart Trophy. If he did would that take him out of Calder contention??

  • Jagr Meister said...

    As great as lundqvist has been, he shouldnt get the Hart... as for ovechkin, how can you be the most important piece, on a machine that is useless??? theyd NEVER give the Hart to ovechkin, mostly because JAGR should get it, and im willing to bet he will get it, especially if we win the Atlantic... Id give calder to Ovechkin though, he is far and away the best rookie, much apologies to Henrik (who i place second)....

  • jb said...

    I think I heard there have only been 3 NHL players to win an Olympic gold medal and a Stanley Cup in the same year.

    Ken Morrow won the gold in 1980 with the US and a Stanley Cup with the Islanders.

    Brendan Shanahan did it in 2001-2002 - Gold at Salt Lake with Team Canada and Stanley Cup with Detroit. He also won the King Clancy Trophy that year. So I believe he might be the only one with 3 crowns.

    Forgot the name of the 3rd person with gold and Stanley?

    I am told there is no limit on the number of trophies a player can win as long as he's eligible. So I guess Ovechkin could hypothetically win both the Hart and the Calder. But, I agree that Jagr looks like the Hart winner right now.

    Lundqvist winning Olympic Gold, the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smyth, and the Roger Crozier would be one better than a triple crown and therefore a "Grand Slam"