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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.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist Photoshoot


Monday, May 11, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist is Practicing Again


View this post on Instagram

Back at it.

A post shared by Henrik Lundqvist (@hank30nyr) on

Saturday, May 9, 2020

New Henrik Lundqvist AftonBladet Interview


NEW YORK. After a couple of surreal months in corona limbo, Henrik Lundqvist has just started training on ice at home in Gothenburg again - and has experienced what it feels like to be preseasonably rusty at a time of year when the life of an NHL star usually approaches its frustrating climax.

But no, that does not mean that the Swedish goalkeeper icon knows more about the future than he did last time someone asked.

- It's uncertain on so many planes at the moment, so I'm just trying to live in the present. But when this season is finally over, no matter what happens, I'll sit down and discuss with the Rangers and hear what the club has plans for. Then we can see, says Henke in an exclusive interview with Sportbladet. It has been quite exactly two months since the corona pandemic hit in earnest in North America and forced the NHL to the cross - just as the exhilarating basic series spurt had begun.
Since then, the halls where the world's best hockey players perform have been in the dark, bombarded and abandoned, and the stars themselves have spread throughout the world.
Henrik Lundqvist, for example, left New York and flew home to Sweden as early as mid-March.
- I don't remember the exact dates now, but we booked air tickets for a Friday and the Wednesday before New York was closed down completely. It was incredibly strange. A city where there is always so much life and movement was suddenly completely deserted. You got a strong sense of reality, he says on the phone from his home in Gothenburg.
- It was just as we flew home and came to Kastrup and heard uninterrupted loudspeaker messages about keeping distance and stuff. Everything felt weird.

 "Very uncomfortable"

However, the 38-year-old goalkeeper did not experience how his American hometown became the epicenter of the entire world crisis and for a few weeks in early April, when nothing but the ambulance sirens heard on Manhattan nights, seemed to be on the path to outright humanitarian disaster. But of course he followed the trend in the distance - with a lump of discomfort in his stomach.
 - Yes, of course. It has been very unsettling to see and hear what has happened. Thankfully, all my friends are doing well, and most have also left town and are on Long Island and other places, but many know people who have been hit hard, he continues.
- You wonder about the consequences in the longer term, too. This crisis strikes in so many ways, it's hard to imagine what it will be like in New York when this is over.
Yes, among other things, all restaurants, with devastating consequences for most of them, have been forced to close again. Of course, that also applies to Tiny's - the exclusive tavern in the Tribeca district where Henke is a partner.
- It's been a while since I talked to the people there, so I don't know exactly what's going on. Hopefully we have the advantage of being such a small restaurant without too much overhead. For larger places there is the risk that it will be very difficult. 

At home in Sweden, life is progressing in a less dramatic way. But it is not normal. When we speak, Henrik has just helped his oldest daughter Charlise with some school assignments - delivered online by the teachers in New York.
- The schools closed fast and that's when we decided to go home. Now it's all about homeschooling via the web. Due to the time difference, there will be some odd times, she will have to work late afternoons and early evenings. But it works well, he thinks.
- Otherwise, everyday life rolls on here anyway. Everything is not exactly as usual, we do not meet as many people as we usually do when we are at home during the summers, but we alternate time between the apartment in Gothenburg and the summer house outside the city and have found some new routines. You have to try to be positive and take advantage of quality time with the family. 

At the same time, the Madison Square Garden fan favorite must be ready to return to the United States at any time. The NHL has still not given up hope of completing the interrupted season in any form. The latest bet is that 24 of the 31 teams, including the New York Rangers, will meet in a newly composed playoff format in four different cities on the North American continent, Without an audience.
- I have contact with the club and teammates, we try to keep up to date on what's happening. But right now everything is very uncertain, I know nothing more than anyone else. It's just to wait.
- Playing without an audience would certainly feel very strange. Especially in the playoffs. Then it is the most pressure, sometimes the energy of the fans can almost turn the entire playoff matches. But if we gather again, then I still think we will light up and drive as usual give everything to win.
Thus, like all other hockey players in the corona vacuum, Henke tries to keep fit on his own.
- I was actually on ice for the first time earlier today (read: Friday). 
How did it feel? Yes, it felt like during the preseason. You are rusty now. Pretty weird this time of year.
- In general, it is difficult to plan the training under these circumstances. In normal cases you have a clear goal with the preparation, and know how to do to achieve a certain result at a certain time. Now you do not really know what is happening. But just be sure to be ready.

"Let's see what happens"
Another question that is currently unclear is formulated as follows:
What will happen to Henrik Lundqvist in the future?
After fifteen straight seasons, he lost the position the Rangers gave the first-keeper last winter and many thought the club disrespected his faithful servant. Just a few weeks ago, for example, friend and ex-teammate Mats Zuccarello made strong comments on the topic in Norwegian media - and every time we here at Sportbladet conduct live chat with readers about hockey and the NHL everyone wants to know about Swedish hockey history's most successful keeper want to change club, want to move home to Sweden or even plan to leave?
But there are no answers to that kind of questions right now.
Henrik himself:
- It's uncertain on so many planes at the moment, so I'm just trying to live in the present. But when this season is finally over, no matter what happens, I'll sit down and discuss with the Rangers and hear what the club has plans for. Then we see. It also means that West-Swedish hopes for a return to Frölunda - expressed, for example, in a TT interview with the twin brother Joel quite recently - must be sorted into questions that are dealt with sometime later.
- Hehe, I understand that Joel gets many questions about it. I've never closed any doors when it comes to that matter, but I still have contracts in the NHL and the plan is to start with that. Then ... yes, as I said, we'll see what happens.
So is life when a worldwide pandemic is going on - even for hockey stars.
Everything hangs in the air.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

New Henrik Lundqvist Tag Heuer Stay Home Session Video Q&A


Saturday, May 2, 2020

New Henrik Lundqvist Luuk & Hallberg Video Interview


Click here to watch the interview