It's been a tough start to the season for Henrik Lundqvist. For whatever the reason, he is not playing at the level we all expect from him. In fact, he's been down right pedestrian.
Meanwhile, fans are beginning to turn on him a bit as his rumored contract demands (6-8 years at $8M per) seem more and more ridiculous with every stoppable shot that gets through him.
To make matters worse for the King, his backup is quickly becoming the darling of New York City with his calm demeanor and Cinderella story.
Now it's one thing for us fickle fans to call for Talbot to be starting over a man who has been the sole reason for the Rangers success the last eight years, but when the head coach is contemplating going with his backup two games in a row, it's going to raise some eyebrows.
And that's exactly what Alain Vigneault did after Talbot won his sixth straight start yesterday as he wouldn't commit publicly to starting Lundqvist tomorrow against Winnipeg at MSG.
Vigneault did say he made a decision, but wanted to speak with his goaltenders first before officially announcing it.
…to me, the only reason for AV to hold off announcing his starter until after he speaks with the goaltenders would be to explain to Lundqvist in person why he's going to be riding the pine again instead of having him hear about it in the press. I mean, why would Vigneault owe his backup an explanation for putting the starter back in?
…and if AV does go with Talbot for a second straight game? Holy shitstorm. It's not like Talbot doesn't deserve to start a second straight start, especially when it seems like the team plays sounder defense when he's in there, but what kind of message does that send to Lundqvist? I could definitely see a decision like that having an impact on the UFA goaltender's future with the Rangers. And what happens if Talbot shuts out the Jets tomorrow? Does he get a fourth straight start? The best way to divide a locker room is to create a goaltending controversy, when, to be honest, there shouldn't be one. Can you say Luongo/Schnieder Part II?
…the Rangers next game after tomorrow isn't until Thursday in Buffalo, so if AV goes with Talbot against the Jets, Lundqvist would be idle for a week.