Lundqvist gets zero respect!
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10-29-2004, 01:45 PM
Clark - Senna's hero
Join Date: Feb 2004
Originally Posted by
I don't buy into the argument that he should not get his fair due because he is from Sweden. At one point in time Americans were viewed as being unskillful players. And while we are on the topic of goaltenders; European goalies in general were perceived as having less talent than North American goalies.
There are a couple of factors that contribute to why Lundqvist gets no respect coming out of Sweden:
1) Just look at the Rangers' own goalie prospects over the past few years: Holmqvist was great in Sweden (and is playing very well there now again), but came to America and never put it together (sure, the Rangers mishandled him, but he's hardly forced the issue with the Wild, either); Asplund was supposed to be better than Holmqvist at the same age level, but he never even made it over. Add to this the experiences of Tellqvist and going further back Söderström, and you get a lot of skepticism.
2) If Lundqvist makes the grade, he will do so as one of the few Swedes of his generation to make it to the NHL (just Liv and Tellqvist get seriously considered as prospects, it seems, and a lot of people aren't very high on either of them). Lehtonen gets all the respect, and he deserves it, because he's a special talent. It's easier for people to not doubt him, though, because Finland right now has flooded the prospect market with goalies. He's considered the best of a good group, which includes the likes of Toivonen, Noronen, Niittymäki, Toskala, and Ahonen, and who had the path beaten for them by guys like Kiprusoff, Nurminen, and Hurme. Now there's a lot of talk about Tuukka Rask: is he that good? I honestly have no idea, but the fact that he's the best goalie prospect in Finland these days makes people sit up and pay attention.
I love Lundqvist, and I think his abilities should carry him over to the NHL, where I hope they translate well. What I can say is that Lundqvist's strengths (reflexes, positioning), are the type that I hope will translate well to the NHL, where players will shoot from wherever, whenever, unlike in Europe. Lundqvist is not invincible, however. He's not that big, and reportedly, he's not known for a lighting glove hand, which is vital against NHL-quality shooters. Because he's from Sweden, outsiders will pay more attention to these potential weaknesses, whether they are real or not.
As a final note, I don't much care if Lundqvist doesn't get respect from the rest of the league or other fans. As long as he gets support from management and from us, I look forward the Rangers unleashing him on the NHL and him taking everyone by surprise with his talent.
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