On Tuesday the New York Rangers announced that star goaltender Henrik Lundqvist missed his second straight practice due to a “minor issue,” and that was all the information the team was willing to reveal on the injury. Because of this “minor issue”, however, Lundqvist may have to sit out tomorrow’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Now if you have watched the Rangers at all this season, you would know that the team is currently 2-5 and Lundqvist has been so off his game it’s been scary. A player whose goals against average has never been over 2.43 for a single season currently has a goals against average of 3.45 and for the first time in his career has a save percentage of under .900. Granted the season is only seven games in, but one cannot deny the fact that Lundqvist has looked far from himself this season.
So does this mean Lundqvist has been playing hurt this whole time?
My guess is probably not and that this “minor issue” has only been bothering him for the past couple of days. If Lundqvist was truly playing hurt this whole time then I find it hard to believe he would have looked that sharp in the Rangers’ only two wins this season thus far, where he surrendered only one goal against the Los Angeles Kings and shutout the Washington Capitals.
We Rangers fans have to face facts that Lundqvist is getting older now, currently 31 years old. With the NHL‘s new goalie pad reduction rule (which Lundqvist had some of the largest pads in the league beforehand) plus the fact that the Rangers are learning a new and more offensive system under new head coach Alain Vigneault which will lead to more blown coverages and odd man rushes, Lundqvist’s dominant seasons are mostly likely now sadly behind him.
I hope I am wrong, but it sure isn’t looking good at the moment.