So John Tortorella, the head coach of the Rangers, had a better idea. You can ask him. Well, maybe it's best not to.
But anyway, it was Tortorella's plan going into the season to reduce Henrik Lundqvist's workload. That vow went by the wayside more quickly than Steve Valiquette's confidence.
And a good thing, too. It's a good thing that Tortorella recognized that The King is as indispensable as it gets in this league, as important to his team as any player in the NHL, and that includes fellow royal court members Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.
You know, it's strange. Tortorella came to New York with a reputation for chewing up and spitting out goaltenders. But he's been a softie with Lundqvist, careful with his words in appraising the goaltender's play as if he recognizes that alienating The King is the last thing he could afford.
Sitting Lundqvist would be a close second. That's why the goaltender started for the ninth straight time, 17th time in the last 18 games and 64th time overall.
We hold these truths to be self-evident in the wake of the Blueshirts' stirring high stakes 4-3 shootout victory over the Devils last night at The Rock in which Lundqvist outdueled Martin Brodeur yet again -- that the teams directly in front of the Blueshirts in the revived playoff chase are pretty lousy and that not one has a player, let alone goaltender, of Lundqvist's caliber.
You have to understand that even as the Devils are on their way to finishing ahead of the Rangers for the 13th straight season, Lundqvist's arrival put an end to the Great Brodeur's dominance of the Blueshirts. Brodeur's dominance ran from 1996-97 through the lockout and at one time included a 23-game (15-0-8) unbeaten streak in which he gloried.
Now, following last night's brilliant performance, the Swede is 16-4-5 lifetime against Brodeur, with last night's victory perhaps the most critical one yet in regular season play.
But there is more to Lundqvist than the goaltending support he provides that is Brodeurian in its consistency. Indeed, on a club whose locker room might be mistaken for transient housing, Lundqvist has emerged as a leader and spokesman.
He talks for the team the way Brodeur does for New Jersey. He talks-or shouts-at them at times the same way, too. A timeout midway through last night's third period after the Devils had swept in on a series of breakaways and odd-man rushes happened to be one of those times.
"I snapped," Lundqvist told The Post. "We were just giving up way too much, and I knew that it had to stop if we were going to win the game.
"I understand that you can't be screaming every time there are breakdowns, but sometimes I don't think it hurts to say a few words. I was definitely not happy."
The Rangers listened respectfully. And then responded. That's the happy recap.
"With what he does for us, Hanky can dissect our game all he wants," Marc Staal said.
It's the goaltender as a leader and spokesman and keeper of the torch.
"I definitely feel the responsibility to be a leader and to say what's on my mind, whether on the ice or in meetings," Lundqvist said. "Even something like, when Aves [Sean Avery] and I were telling the guys earlier in the year about this rivalry, because so many of them are new and don't know."
But they know what they have in Lundqvist. So does Tortorella.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/rangers/king_sized_asset_CYmzzlm7Qev695hx5txOlK#ixzz0jJgrnVBO
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