Some questioned head coach John Tortorella's decision to start back-up goaltender Martin Biron Monday night against the Calgary Flames, but I was one of the few that applauded the move. The reason being that it creates a healthy goaltending situation for this New York Rangers team, something they have not had in quite some time. But it should be made clear that there is no controversy over who is number one for the Blueshirts; that title belongs to King Henrik and will for a long time.
Tortorella went with the hot hand in Martin Biron on Monday, as Marty was coming fresh off of a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Lundqvist, on the other hand, had two or three disappointing performances prior to that, and the coach felt that Marty has been the more consistent goaltender as of late. So by right, Biron deserved to start that game over Lundqvist, and that is just what he did.
By having Biron to fall back on, Tortorella will force Henrik Lundqvist to play better when he goes through a slump. A competent back-up will push Lundqvist more than, say, Steve Valiquette ever did. Hank knows his job is not in jeopardy, but if he is not performing he will not play. That eliminates the notion that Henrik will be between the pipes for each big game no matter how he has played in previous tilts. That is no longer the case and it is why Lundqvist will have to begin earning his starts, he will not just be handed them anymore.
Plus, it is not like Torts is putting Biron in just to push Hank. Biron is performing, as you saw during his 31 save effort earlier in the week against the Calgary Flames. Give Marty credit because he has completely transformed since his time with the New York Islanders. Goaltending coach Benoit Allaire has brought Biron back to his usual form and we have seen that three or four times just in the past month.
Believe me, there is no tension between Lundqvist and Biron, nor is there any tension between either of the goalies and the coaches. It is a healthy situation that the Rangers have in goal, and that could potentially make the difference between playoffs or no playoffs for this hockey team. The good thing is, Henrik and Biron are both huge team players, so they will sit out if it is for the good of the club. In the end, this system is going to pay off.