Thought things couldn’t get any worse for the New York Rangers? Think again.
Henrik Lundqvist, who has struggled in net through the Rangers’ first seven games of the season, will miss Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers due to an undisclosed injury. All the Rangers brass have told us is that the injury is “minor” and that it has been bothering Lundqvist for a while now. If the injury has been bothering Lundqvist for some time, how “minor” can it really be?
I don’t want to attribute Hank’s slow start to this injury, but it would certainly make sense as to why he has struggled so badly this year. Then again, the Rangers claim it is only a minor issue and that if this were a playoff game he would be in net.
I’m skeptical of anything that Rangers management leaks to the media. They have never been upfront about injuries and clubhouse issues. Due to their history of smokescreens I do believe that Lundqvist’s injury may have been bothering him more than he or head coach Alain Vigneault have let on. This is not to say Hank will miss a significant period of time, but I don’t think we can classify this as a “minor issue”. It is certainly something to keep your eye on moving forward.
26 year old Cam Talbot will get the start in place of Lundqvist and will have Jason Missiaen backing him up. This will be Talbot’s first NHL start and it comes in a tough environment against a desperate Flyers team who have struggled towards a 1-7 record so far this year.
Talbot became the full-time backup to Lundqvist after the Rangers waived Martin Biron, who chose to retire at the age of 36 late last week.
Lundqvist may have a new backup in Talbot, but he’s still expected to be the brick wall in net for New York that he has been since he came into the league. Hopefully for the Rangers and their fans, Lundqvist just needs some time to rest and will come back healthy, ready to be the Vezina candidate we are used to watching. If the injury is serious, it will be time for everyone to press the panic button.
Martin Burns covers New York Rangers hockey for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter (@martin_burns) for more thoughts and news on the Blueshirts as well as the rest of the NHL!