Monday, April 24, 2006

Weekes to start tonight

Globe and Mail columnist David Shoalts is in New Jersey and he's got some rather grim news to deliver for Rangers fans: No Lundqvist, no Kasparaitis and no Jagr. No hope?

The New York Rangers will go into tonight's game against the New Jersey Devils without their two most important players from the regular season.

Right winger Jaromir Jagr will be out with an injury to his left arm, which was expected, but Rangers head coach Tom Renney pulled a surprise Monday morning by naming Kevin Weekes to start in goal ahead of rookie Henrik Lundqvist.

Later in the day, the team received another blow when it learned hard-nosed defenceman Darius Kasparaitis could not play. He aggravated a groin injury on Saturday in the first game of the playoff series.

I don't like the goaltending swap at all. It seems too kneejerk to pull a young, big-game goalie who had absolutely no support in Game 1 — all six Devils goals were on the power play — and go with the guy who was your backup all season.

Lundqvist had Vezina-calibre numbers this season; you don't pull that guy.

If the Rangers lose tonight, it could be the series, and coach Tom Renney would be at fault. It's not a spot I'd want to be in.


At 8:39 p.m., April 24, 2006, Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

Two points. One, they're heading home to New York for games 3 and 4. The series isn't over until they lose on home ice. Second, I'm pretty sure that Lundqvist is injured. He was out for a while with a hip injury of some sort and has gotten bombed since returning. I suspect that they rushed him.

At 9:23 p.m., April 24, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Shoalts is in Jersey, and he says Lundqvist's health isn't an issue. I was assuming that to be true.

At 11:10 p.m., April 24, 2006, Anonymous alice said...

What I gather is that his Lundquist's injury prevented him from working out while it healed, so stamina is an issue. In the last game of the season and in game one of the Devils series, he started off OK in the first and clearly tired by the middle of the game.

At 6:46 a.m., April 25, 2006, Blogger alyosha mcbain said...

I agree with James on this assessment--starting Weekes was a move that reeked of desperation. But perhaps Henrik was in bad shape after the game 1 loss. I think Renney took the opportunity to try to steal a game with Weekes knowing that Jagr, Ward, and Kasparaitis would not be playing. Renney might've figured the Rangers had little chance in game 2 with all of the injuries, so why not give Lundqvist a few extra days of rest?

The refereeing in this series has been awful on both sides as well. Ticky-tack calls have been made all over the place while real actual penalties seem to provoke the refs into putting their whistles away.


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