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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist: "Rangers wanted to move on - but I was not done"

The dream was to end his NHL career where it all began - in the New York Rangers. Instead, Henrik Lundqvist was forced out and now the 38-year-old tells SVT Sport exclusively about the process. - When Rangers said they wanted to move on, I felt "but I want to play more", I want to win, he says. Barely two weeks ago, the Swedish goalkeeper star was bought out of his contract with the club he represented for 15 seasons, the New York Rangers. 

 Now the moving load goes to division rival Washington Capitals where he will compete for the first spade with Russian 23-year-old Ilya Samsonov. - They have a young goalkeeper in Samsonov who was very good in his first season. Part of my role will be to support and help him, but it really does not matter if he is old or young, as goalkeepers you have to work with each other. But I go there because I want to play and I want to win.

 That is the goal, says Lundqvist in an exclusive interview with SVT Sports Marie Lehmann. - I am incredibly grateful for everything they have given me in 15 years in New York, but I like hockey and felt that I was not done.
 When they said they wanted to move on, I felt "but I want to play more". I want to fight, I want to try to win. 
Then you have to try to see yourself in another team's jersey, he continues. 
Lundqvist - often called "King Henrik" in New York - has for many years been clear that he wanted to end his career in Rangers where he became an audience favorite and club icon. That will not be the case. When asked how he managed to let go of that dream and move on, he answers: - It took a few months this spring, I can say. It was incredibly tough, I will not stick it under a chair. It was a period where I got to work on my thoughts. It is reminiscent of losing a family member or close friend, it becomes a mourning job. That was actually it for me, a mourning job, says Lundqvist and continues: - There are different steps you go through but in the end I ended up in a phase of gratitude and just felt "thank you for everything". Then I could also relax and look ahead. But it took time.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

New Henrik Lundqvist One-on-One Video Interview


New Henrik Lundqvist Video Interview on Signing with Washington


Friday, October 9, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist Signs with the Washington Capitals


Henrik Lundqvist signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Washington Capitals on Friday. The 38-year-old goalie was an unrestricted free agent after he had the final season of his contract bought out by the New York Rangers on Sept. 30. He was 10-12-3 with a 3.16 goals-against average, a .905 save percentage and one shutout in 30 games (26 starts) last season. "For a few weeks now, I've been doing my homework on all different scenarios and options for me, and I have to say, the Capitals, they checked every box," Lundqvist said. "When it comes to a team that understands winning, a great coaching staff and an opportunity to play some games were the main factors for me. "But there's so many things that goes into this decision for me, starting with a chance to win. I think at this point in my career, that's the most important thing. I want to have a chance to win. I know few guys on the team. I've played against a lot of the guys for so many years. I have the most respect for them. I'm just very excited and grateful actually to join them. I've been skating for a few weeks now, and I'm just really excited to take on this new challenge." Lundqvist fills what was a need for a veteran to back up 23-year-old Ilya Samsonov. The No. 22 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, Samsonov pushed Braden Holtby for playing time as a rookie last season by going 16-6-2 with a 2.55 GAA, a .913 save percentage and one shutout in 26 games (22 starts). "I see it as we've got a good young goalie and we've got a great experienced goalie," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said. "Our goal as a team and as an organization is to win games this year and compete for a championship. I would expect him to come in and compete as hard as he can and the coaches will make the decision based on how guys are playing and us winning games and what's been best for our team." Selected by the Rangers in the seventh round (No. 205) of the 2000 NHL Draft, Lundqvist went 459-310-96 with a 2.43 GAA, a .918 save percentage and 64 shutouts in 887 games over 15 seasons with New York. He is sixth in NHL history in wins, seventh in saves (23,509), eighth in games, ninth in starts (871), ninth in time on ice (51,816:19) and 16th in shutouts. Lundqvist won the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL in 2011-12 and has been a finalist for the award four other times (2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2012-13). "I had a good phone call with [captain Alex Ovechkin] already," Lundqvist said. "... His record speaks for itself, but it's going to be fun to be on the same side, I'm not going to lie. Just to be around guys like that, you learn a lot and you appreciate what they've done, and hopefully we can create something special here moving forward." With the emergence of 24-year-old goalies Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, Lundqvist started four of New York's final 29 games last season, finishing with the fewest games (30), starts (26) and wins of his NHL career. Lundqvist started and lost the first two games against the Carolina Hurricanes in the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers when Shesterkin was unfit to play, but Shesterkin returned for Game 3 with Lundqvist as his backup in what was his last game with New York. Lundqvist is 61-67 with a 2.30 GAA, a .921 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 130 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He helped the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2014, when they lost to the Los Angeles Kings in five games. "In the springtime, it was a pretty tough time for me," Lundqvist said. "I kind of saw where this was going a little bit, so I had time to reflect and think about a lot of different things. I reached a level of so much gratitude towards the Rangers. Honestly, I feel like gratitude is the best feeling you can ever have. I appreciate everything they've done for me over the 15 years I've been there. They were ready to make a few moves and take the next step in their rebuild and moving on. I had my time to deal with that mentally because this was a big thing. I'm not going to lie, it was a really big thing for me to say goodbye because it was such a long relationship. So when this happened last week, I was in a really good place because I had time to work on that. "It also made it easier for me to really take in all the love and support I felt during last week, and I was kind of blown away with all the support I felt. And I also felt ready for the next step because I realized how much I love the game, how much I love to compete, and then looking at the different options I had and looking at Washington and how excited I got thinking about going to Washington. Obviously it's been a pretty emotional week, but it's exciting times ahead here. That's where we're at."

Monday, September 28, 2020

Joel Lundqvist said Henrik Lundqvist Will Not be Returning to Frolunda


Joel Lundqvist has participated and won four Swedish Championship golds with his Frölunda. In both 2003 and 2005, he won together with his twin brother Henrik Lundqvist.

But there will be no more gold hunt for the Lundqvist brothers in Frölunda. In recent months, there has been speculation that Henrik Lundqvist, who has one year left on his contract with the New York Rangers, will be bought out from the NHL club he has represented since 2005.

If that happens, a return to Frölunda could be relevant for Henrik Lundqvist. But that will not be the case, according to Frölunda's team captain Joel Lundqvist.

- No. That door is closed. I can say that. It will not be, says Joel Lundqvist to after Frölunda's 2-0 win over Djurgården at Hovet.

- There is a lot that comes into play in such a decision. But I get that question constantly and just to kill speculation and other things. That will not be the case, says Joel Lundqvist.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist returning to New York amid uncertain Rangers future

Henrik Lundqvist is returning to New York. “We’re coming back to NYC to start the school year there,” the King said via an email exchange with The Post on Wednesday. “Then we’ll go from there.” The 38-year-old netminder and his wife, Therese, have two daughters, eight-year-old Charlise and five-year-old Juli, who are enrolled in school in Manhattan. The crew is scheduled to arrive in New York over the weekend.

 Lundqvist’s future as a Ranger is unknown, though the strong likelihood is that he has played his final game in the Blueshirt. President John Davidson, who had a private chat with No. 30 immediately upon landing at White Plains following the club’s elimination by Carolina and return from the bubble in Toronto, has stated definitively that the team would not carry three goaltenders next season. 

The face of the franchise essentially since his rookie 2005-06 season (though Jaromir Jagr most certainly at least shared top billing that year), Lundqvist started only one of the team’s final 19 regular-season games, sliding behind 24-year-oId’s Igor Shesterkin and Alex Georgiev on the depth chart. The Swede did get the call for the first two qualifying round matches against the Hurricanes while Shesterkin was sidelined with a groin issue, and allowed seven goals on 71 shots in the 3-2 and 4-1 defeats. But his streak of 129 consecutive playoff starts that began with the third game of the 2006 first round against the Devils came to a close when Shesterkin was in nets for the elimination 4-1 loss in Game 3.

 Lundqvist has one more year on his contract that carries an $8.5 million cap hit. If the Blueshirts buy out the goaltender, they would save $3 million on the cap while adding $5.5 million of dead space for 2020-21 and $1.5 million of dead space for the following season. The Blueshirts already are carrying nearly $7.495 million in dead space into the 2020-21 offseason. The buyout period starts on either Sept. 25 or on the first day of the Stanley Cup final (whichever is later) and runs through either Oct. 8 or six days after the Cup clincher (whichever is later). The goaltender and Davidson are expected to meet at some point to resolve the situation.

 If, as all signs indicate, the Blueshirts go forward with a Shesterkin-Georgiev tandem, it is unknown whether Lundqvist would retire or seek to continue his career with another NHL team. His return to New York effectively closes the door on the possibility that he’d play in Sweden for Frolunda with his twin brother Joel. Should Lundqvist, whose 459 victories rank sixth in NHL history, opt to retire, the Rangers would of course receive massive help in their cap situation. It is believed the entire $8.5 million would be wiped off the books, though the Devils were charged $250,000 per when Ilya Kovalchuk retired from the NHL to return to Russia in 2013 with 12 years remaining on his contract. 

 The goaltender market will be flooded this offseason. Braden Holtby is a pending free agent, as are Robin Lehner, Jacob Markstrom, Corey Crawford, Cam Talbot and Thomas Greiss. If Lehner remains in Vegas, Marc-Andre Fleury is likely to be available in a trade. Matt Murray is on the trade market. Arizona could opt to deal Darcy Kuemper. Who knows about Jonathan Quick and the rebuilding Kings?  There are decisions to make. In this sense, nothing has changed from March and nothing has changed from August. But the more things change, the more they stay the same.

 Labor Day beckons and Henrik Lundqvist is returning to New York.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist July 13th Media Availability Video Interview


Saturday, July 11, 2020

See Henrik Lundqvist's New Mask


Friday, July 3, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist is Returning to New York Today


Much is still unclear ahead of the NHL's playoffs this season, and many have been waiting for the last to head over to North America. Henrik Lundqvist travels back today. He left New York in March, after having less playing time than any other year in the NHL.
"Yes, how do you go into this," he says, quieting.

- You have not believed that it will happen, that you should go back and play in the middle of summer. But it seems to be the case now, says Lundqvist.

Together with a bunch of other NHL, KHL and SHL players he has been on ice for two months now. There have been camps and other things in Slottsskogen in Gothenburg, where we meet him before departure back to the USA.

Unclear future
The only thing the NHL players really know for sure is that they must be in place on July 10 when the team's training camper starts.

- For so many years, there has been a pretty clear plan for how things will happen, what will happen in the future. But I think there are a lot of question marks right now, says Lundqvist.

- The Corona situation means that our situation as a hockey player can change quite a bit.

Henrik Lundqvist warms up, changes, laces the goalkeeper skates and threads on the skate protectors in a small dressing room in Frölundaborg. The key was hidden above the door of a pipe and the few showers that fit have surgical blue shower curtains in plastic. He refills his water bottle in one shower.

The environment is as far from a dressing room in the NHL as you can get. And at the same time so close to the foundation of Swedish sport.

The skate protector has wheels
- When you are at home in the summer we often change here and then you have to go on the asphalt. And I have pretty sharp skates so I go through the skate protectors in a few days and then the rails will be destroyed. So I saw some guys who had these roller covers and thought "can I test". They are flexible, you can still say, says Lundqvist.

He rolls in full gear against training this morning. Finding new roads. Towards a future that is uncertain.

After the playoffs, Henrik Lundqvist has one year left on his long contract with the New York Rangers. Having held the position as an obvious first-timer for nearly his entire NHL career, this spring he wasn't even always switched to a match.

- My own situation with Rangers after 15 years is a situation you have to deal with after this playoffs. See how they think and ...

The thought pause becomes long.

- With that also comes a lot of questions about my future and yes ... everything around.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

New Henrik Lundqvist Hockey Sverige Interview


Henrik Lundqvist goes to an uncertain future as an NHL goalkeeper. He tells about his tough season, the thoughts for the future and how he looks at a possible return to Frölunda one beautiful day.
- I have to wait and see where the New York Rangers stand, says Lundqvist.

Much indicates that the NHL season 2019/20 season will end in the summer. The last word has not been said there and now it is also starting to raise voices about the risks of players with underlying illnesses. What everything lands in remains to be seen. Many players await and follow the development of a restart of the NHL a little "day by day".

- This situation is so unique and everything is really strange. I'm very short-term here and take it week by week, Henrik Lundqvist tells and continues:
- I've been training, trying to keep myself physically fit and technically working with pieces on the ice. If they then push the button and say that we should drive, I can more mentally focus on it, but right now it is more to work with the body, the technology on the ice and keep going. Then we'll see what it becomes.
- It has been a very different time for us, but then I think it has been for most people. I am not trying to ponder as much, but have taken this time to have as good a time as possible with the family back home in Sweden, obtaining energy, energy and positivity.
- I had a pretty heavy time for a few months on the spring edge so the focus now is to exercise and feel good.

How do you think the status of the players will be if the league starts in the summer after a fairly long break?
- It has already been discussed that the first week will be important, that you do not then take-driving. It is important that you get "softened into it" with regard to groin and so on. Often when you run a camp and start skating a lot, it's clear that it will be a bit of a shock to everyone's bodies.
- Then we have different conditions. We train well here in Sweden and many of us are on ice. Not everyone has been able to go there in the United States. Now they will start to open up the training facilities so you will be able to start training there again so I think the guys will be well prepared when it is day time.
 Have you trained pre-season during the break or have you run like during a regular season?
- I would say that it feels like something mid-season and mid-season. I keep going, work out on ice, work with pieces of technology…
- At the same time we have no real start date, so I see this break as an opportunity to work a little more with technology and find a good feeling on the ice. Then I would say the body feels very good right now.

There are different times in the world. Henrik Lundqvist's Manhattan and New York have been hit hard by covid-19. If the NHL starts this summer, he and his family have decided that his wife and children will stay home in Sweden.

- If there is a game this summer I will go back myself. The family will remain in Sweden. Obviously it will be very different to be there and away from the family.
- We have just ended conversations with doctors and the team because there are many pieces that will match tests and everything like that when we come over, but also about the procedures we will have when we go to the rink to keep everything in check.
- It won't be this usual to slip in for a morning workout, but there are things we have to do before we set out in the dressing room or on the ice, which is something we just have to make sure every day. There will be some new conditions, but this is also what is needed in such a situation.

When the family will move to New York again is unclear.

- The summer holidays will soon start for the children so they stay in Sweden. So it has always been during my 15 years over there. The focus is still there.
- Then we still do not know when we will play or how long we play. The idea is that they will come over sometime in August no matter what our season looks like.

Just as Henrik Lundqvist said earlier in the interview, he has had a pretty tough season, especially in the spring when he got sparse with playing time.

- I think I had a period in November, December which felt very good. Then we were in a situation the first half of the season where we had a very young team and tried to find our game. The structure got better and better.
- Then I think we as a team actually started to play better and better in the second half of the season. It was in the same vein that I started playing less and less.
- I feel that I did what I could control, train hard and tried to have a good attitude. Then happened the stuff that was beyond my control. Obviously it was not like this I had painted that the season was going to be, but so it was.

The stuff outside Lundqvist's control was that the Russian goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin, by many seen as the Swedish throne heir, was called up from the AHL and gained more playing time and confidence. Meanwhile, Rangers second Russian Alexandar Georgiev got a lot of chances - at "Henkes" expense. From February until the season was paused in March, Lundqvist only made three games from the start.

- For me, it's just a war on. I don't know how they look at the playoffs, whether it will be a playoffs, whether to stand or not. What I can control in this situation is training and preparing myself.

How has the dialogue about your role in the team been during the season?
- During the first half there was really no dialogue but I drove on. Clearly it was a change as we were three goalkeepers. Then there was some dialogue about what this would look like.
- I started to understand how the situation was going to be and I began to prepare mentally for it because it was not something I had experienced earlier in my career. Managing the situation as well as I could, it was a challenge.

He has only positive things to say about his Russian colleagues.

- They have worked well and are good guys. Since then I have had the most discussion with Benoît (Allaire), the goalkeeper coach. At the same time, we have been on ice together and pushed each other and worked well.

You have contracts with the New York Rangers even in the coming season, how are your thoughts moving forward?
- I'm just thinking this summer. After this season, there will be a discussion with Rangers about how they look to the future. Longer than that, I cannot plan at the same time as I realize that the conditions are a little different now.
- That's where I am today. Then I get to think about it when I know how Rangers think.

Are you thinking about a club change or haven't the thoughts gone so far yet?
- The focus is here and now on the playoffs. In the end, it is then they who decide. I have to wait and see where they stand.

Your brother Joel Lundqvist gets to sign a new contract with Frölunda all the time, waiting for you to come home so you both get to play together. He never seems to stop, when will you come home and play in SHL again?
- (Laughter) I don't know. There are many pieces I weigh in and that should feel right for it to happen. I have always said that I never close any doors to Frölunda.
- With that said, I still have more to give away so we can see how everything is going to take place this summer, but also next season. I take it year by year. In this case, I take three, four months at a time. Then there may be new conditions. Then I'll have that discussion then.

So will it be for Joel to sign another contract soon?
- He certainly will. He is happy with life and with Frölunda. He thinks it is fun with hockey and that is how it begins, so with the joy of the sport, concludes Henrik Lundqvist.