Knicks fan Spike Lee will still be an MSG staple during the NBA lockout. The director sat front row at the New York Rangers home opener Thursday night, telling people he needs to “get his sports fix” while Knicks games are on hiatus. Lee also picked out some Rangers gear, including a Henrik Lundqvist jersey. “He had 10 guys in the MSG store helping him buy a hat,” a witness reports. Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni and assistant GM Allan Houston also attended the game.
With perfect smile, tan and hair - how vain do you think yourself to be?
- Actually I do not care very much indeed. The only thing I'm trying to do is fix your hair in the morning.
Is it the truth?
- Yes! I know, for example, to cut me so I run only to the first best salon and ask to get a haircut that they recommend. Sometimes it feels a bit like Russian roulette when it comes to hair.
Has in turn led to a disaster?
- Yes, the strongest memory is when I had the classic "hockey-frillan". Nothing I am particularly pleased today, but it at least help a good laugh!
Now you're still young, but how much were you thinking about your appearance when you were younger?
- I have always said that you should give himself space to test their way. And that was when I was around 20 to 23 years that I took the whole hog.
You are at the elite level in one of the harder sports today who oozes testosterone and son. What does the rest of the team on Hunk-Henke?
- During training we see all almost identical out - just worn out, sweaty and tired. Then, the focus of so much more than appearance. But recently, many of the team become better at taking care of their appearance and think it's fun with grooming and dressing up.
Would you say that you still are the stylish on the team?
- I can actually admit that I like! (Laughs)
How much time do you spend on grooming?
- Not more than necessary. I'm pretty bad at using the products, but make sure to moisturize your face and sleep a lot instead.
You are now the face of "Head & Shoulders," have you dandruff?
- I have had problems with it, but no longer. It is largely thanks to that I wear a hat too often - which is not good for the hair.
You get a lot of attention for your looks - how good self-confidence do you yourself have?
- I never feel as good as just before a match! Then the self-confidence at its peak, and I have the feeling that nothing can stop me. On weekdays, I think that attention is stressful and I try to look as good as possible when I'm out on the town.
There are a lot of training in your profession, but how do you stay in shape outside the rink?
- Once I train outside of hockey, it becomes not so advanced. Then, I am willing to gym or tennis.
With all the training that is diet important - how well you handle it?
- It's something I must get better at. I travel a lot so it is in principle always take-aways that apply. Hamburgers, I eat a little too often, from great restaurants, but it's still burgers ...
Do you have any tips for our readers who want to brush up on their looks?
- As long as one is clean and fresh as it usually feels good. Regular sleep is something that has worked best for my part!
First he talked about playing Frölunda, like that he'd thought about it for a long time. It was a nostalgia trip, 20 years flashed by in like 20 seconds, it was very special in many ways, it was hard to focus. He thought about stuff he shouldn't be thinking of during a game. They joke about that during that first rebound goal, he was thinking about something else, but then the focus came back after that goal.
He says partly the reason they're in Europe is to sell the sport.
He likes to do other stuff when he is not playing hockey, to relax mentally. He has a tendency to ponder too much, to puddle things, especially about hockey.
He says he sometimes looks beyond the hockey for the future, like with networking, NY is great for broadening the network
He's an extreme time optimist, he's always stressed out, he likes to cave in as many things as possible into as little time as possible.
With his stardom he says he can't take everything too seriously, his family and teammates and friends put his feet on the ground.
Kristin said his and Joel's old trainer said Joel was the one who talked for them while Henrik was the quiet one, which Henrik can't remember. He says when they were younger they talked together and ended each other's sentences all the time. Now they're quite different. They always know were they have each other, they're the best friends who have known each other for 29 years ie. knowing each other really well. When they were small they always wanted to do the same thing, if one said he wanted to do something, the other one wanted it too. Joel says they were incredibly tight growing up, like being stuck together, which has continued. He says he's a great payer.
Mats Zuccarello says he's a really good guy, who's had him over for dinner and taken good care of him. Says it's great to have someone who understands the language, so that they can talk crap about the other players. Henrik says Zuccarello feels Swedish even though he's Norwegian. Having started his 7th year, he feels responsibility for the organization and for young players, he tries to help them settling in.
Even though he has lots of money and buys cars, he says he knows absolutely nothing about them. He talks about the car crash. Says it was aquaplaning. Says he mistook his costume in the passenger seat for the airbag. He looks over swearing over having crashed his car and that his suit is ruined, but realizes it's not, it's laying in front the seat. Jokes that it would've been tough to crash his Lamborghini AND ruin his favorite costume as well.
Says his only focus is to stop the puck, if they do power plays or score goals is unessential for him in how he plays.
Thank you to Johanna and Maxie for the link to this show, and to Johanna for translating it.
Huge thank you to Johanna, for translating the show for us! I wish he gave interviews like this in the U.S. It's so refreshing to see a pro athlete be so candid in his responses.
- I sometimes feel a bit provoced because everything seems to work for you. Good looking, rich, lives in New York, plays hockey, drives sports cars. You do everything every guy would want. Is it sometimes hard to be so successful?
Henrik: First of all, I'm not that successful, I wake up in the mornings and have it a bit rough too.
- Describe a bad day
Henrik: You wake up and you're tired because you've traveled for three days, your whole body hurts. And then you have to stand and wait very long for your car and then you're stuck in traffic and sit and swear over that. And then you get to practice and get a scolding from the coach. ... If you've played bad of course you get a scolding. "You weren't good enough, you have to get better"
- I've actually seen a game with you where you got ridiculed by your own audience, that doesn't happen often, but they mockingly applauded you when you saved an easy puck because you earlier let 4-5 easy pucks in.
Henrik: Yeah, they're quick there. If you do well it's great, if you don't they're quick to show their dissatisfaction. … The New York audience is both the worse and the best. I like the contrast. It turns very quickly in New York, not just in sports, in life too.
- Isn't it lovely to end up in New York, you hear of some players who end up in the most weird places on earth.
Henrik: I've been very lucky, no question. I don't know how much you know about hockey but when you're 18 and have talent you get drafted, and Rangers drafted me so they had the rights to me. I could as well have ended up in Buffalo or Edmonton or somewhere else that doesn't feel as glamorous. Nothing wrong with those places but they're quite far from New York.
- Anytime they can say to you that now you're going to Idaho? They can call today?
Henrik: Yes absolutely, you're a product, that's the way it is.
- So Rangers drafted you and had the rights for you for no time limit?
Henrik: Now the rules have changed so it's different if you get drafted today, they change depending on contracts and stuff like that. But then they owned the rights for me until it was time for me to move across the Atlantic. And maybe if it didn't work with NY, they could trade with other teams. But they had the first right.
- Now you're one of the world's greatest goalies, the world's highest paid goalie anyway. Could you believe this, that it would go so well?
Henrik: Um, I don't know if I'm the highest paid one, maybe I was once in a time.
Have you gotten lower salary?
Henrik: There are guys that have signed contracts.. -
That you're jealous of?
Henrik: Absolutely not... The way it works over there, there are a lot of numbers when you negotiate contracts, it's quite easy to negotiate a contract in the USA, in the business world and in sports, because it's pretty black and white.
- But what did your coach say when you smashed the Lamborghini?
- Maybe we have to tell the story, Henke bought a Lamborghini that he smashed on the freeway. He states that he got aquaplaning and that he wasn't driving too fast at all.
- But you got to practice?
Henrik: Yes I did, but i was late.
- The coach wasn't angry?
Henrik: No, no, but I was lucky.
- The car got totally smashed up, but you didn't even get a bruise? That's also a bit provocative. You'd want him to at least break a leg and miss half the season.
Henrik: I mean, I could sit here and joke a little about it but it was actually very unpleasant and I had neck and back pains a couple of weeks after. But it happens, I was very lucky there and I'm very happy about that.
- Now you're in Sweden because the NHL has a premiere in Sweden, your team has premiere on friday and saturday in Globen. Why? I don't understand why they do that? Is it to create interest in Europe?
Henrik: Yeah, to create interest for the NHL, they've done this for a couple of years now, we've opened in Prague before, they've opened in Sweden for the last 4-5 years. It's good for spreading the sport and getting new fans. I think it's great and for us players to come to Europe, there are many European players in the NHL now so it's great for us to come here and play in front of our fans and for me personally to come to Sweden is fantastic.
- It's great that you came here (to the show) too, I also saw that Kristin Caspersen is here. When I met you this spring you also had a team with you. Do you always have a camera team with you?
Henrik: I often try to compress stuff to save time, and when you have free time you want to be free. But now when we're here a few days of course there are some media things, I like to compress that so I'll be completely free tomorrow to focus on hockey. Sometimes it can seem that you have a lot of stuff going on. Rangers helps also to schedule things so you can focus on hockey on the days you need it.
- You're very famous in Sweden, in sports Sweden. And there are some people who don't recognize you in sports contexts but still knows who you are, because of a commercial for Head & Shoulders that's extremely talked about. It's been very successful. But it's also special in the way that you run your hands through your hair about 75-80 times under the course of about 45 seconds. Shall we watch it? Or is it hard for you to see it?
Henrik: No, no, show it..
(They show the clip)
… Henrik: I've thought recently about how much I run my hands through my hair, and I actually do that several times a day. Maybe it's a work injury?
- It's been exposed a lot during this previous year. Several times a day. We live with you in our living rooms.
Henrik: My parents use to say that: "We use to eat dinner with you, Henrik"
- What's making me so perplex is that I can't decide weather it's genius and amazing or really bad. Do you understand what I mean?
Henrik: You know, the goal with it a commercial is to create some sort of interest, then if people think it's good or bad.. But you create a certain interest around the product.. That's the goal.
- Now when we have you here Henke, I'm obsessed with looking at hockey fights on youtube. Do you hockey players look at fights like this, is it the same highlight for you?
Henrik: If something special happens that week with tackles or goals or fights, we use to check it out. I'm sure those who fight a lot watch a lot on youtube to learn from the fights. I learn a lot by looking at how I act in different situations, the same as for those who fight. It's a part of their job. Maybe it's starting to get less and less but we have some in the team who knows that if something happens with certain players, they have to step in and fight.
- So they're put there to protect certain key players?
- If someone does an ugly tackle on you-
Henrik: Then there's a smack down. They have that mentality. But the great thing with these guys is that in reality they are the softest and nicest guys, and on the ice they're monsters.
- Is Sean Avery also nice off the ice?
Henrik: He is a special person in many ways.
- But we have to say they're all great players or they wouldn't be on the team.
Henrik: It depends, some players who fight are considerably better players, and others are more put on the ice for their jobs as the "police".
- I have some clips here, I want you to guide us through them. When all of the players start fighting is it implied that the two goalies should fight each other?
Henrik: More like if one of the goalies steps into the fight, then the other goalie tend to go and punch on that goalie.
(They show a clip)
- It seems hard to fight as a goalie?
Henrik: Yes, it's hard to move. Lots of fighters have-, they throw off the-, if you look before a fight, they reverse and take off the gloves, many are polite and take off the helmet, otherwise you'll break your knuckles.
- So it's a gentleman thing?
Henrik: Yes. On the goalies there are so much equipment so it's really hard to move.
- What if one removes the helmet and the other one keeps it on?
Henrik: That's very unsportsmanlike.
- After a fight, does it ever happen that you'll meet and say "nice hit"?
Henrik: You often see that they fight till one's down and after it's almost a pat on the shoulder; "Good job" You have a certain respect for one another.
(Shows next clip)
Henrik: I don't think the audience is very happy there. They get very excited every time there's a fight, there's one hell of a noise. But if there are no hits they get very unhappy.
- But are they too afraid to go in?
Henrik: There's one thing to stand on solid ground and fight. On skates you're the most vulnerable when you go in for a hit. You get lots of weight forward and then the other guy can punch you. The one who takes the first step is the most vulnerable. You can practice it, like how you hold the shirt, if you hold it the wrong way, it's over.
(shows next clip)
- If this would happen in like a football game, there would be red cards and yellow cards.
Henrik: Yeah, but also in Sweden there's another view on this. In Sweden you get suspensions, whereas in the NHL you get about 5 minutes. If you punch someone right on the chin like that, you're gonna fall, doesn't matter how tall you are. And like I said, he steps in for a punch, but when you lean forwards you get one right back at you. It's quite hard to defend yourself. It's a whole different world. For me as a European and as a Swede to come there, I remember the first training camp, we even have fights on training camps. The first times I saw these fights-, I knew there would be fights, but I wasn't used to seeing it. These guys who fight know what they're doing, they have respect for each other even though it looks like-, it's not like a street fight. They have respect for each other and they know what's going on. They know how to do it and there's not often a guy who knows how to fight, fights someone who has never done it. They can look life threatening on the ice, but like I said, the guys I play with who are fighters are often very calm and soft. It's great to see the contrast. They step into a role on the ice.
- Do you associate with your teammates off the ice?
Henrik: Yeah, I associate with most of them actually. There are so many who have come and gone since I came to NY, I'm starting my 7th year now and there's only me left of the ones who were there when I came. There's quite a good flow of people.
(They show a clip of a talk show were the host makes some jokes. Alex gives everyone a joke for them to read and decide on how good it is)
… Henrik: It's important how you deliver it. I'm actually very bad at delivering jokes. … When you see Letterman and Leno and those guys, it's not always they're especially funny either.
(They show a clip of a game show, Alex thinks the contestants are fake, they're actors, and he asks for their opinion) Henrik: If you're a student and playing for 2 million kronor, I think you'd be more nervous. ... I think it was fake.
(They show a clip of a hockey commercial taking place in the shower. The team is nicknamed Bajen (The Poop) and is playing in division two, and in the end it says "Now we take them in the 2)
Henrik: Was that one real? No!? … I wouldn't participate in such a commercial.
- Does it give a justified picture of hockey players in the shower?
- It's like they're suggesting, "We're Bajen, we're gay and we take each other in the two in the shower. That's what they're saying in this commercial.
Henrik: It was very surprising to see this.
- Are there lots of gay jokes in the dressing room? Be honest.
Henrik: There are jokes about everything, but it's twinkle-eyed, so there's not-
- Do you compare penis sizes in the dressing room? Does anyone get applause?
Henrik: No, not really. We see each others every day, it gets old. We talk more about stuff that maybe happens on the ice or- but when it comes to the shower it's not like that, it's pretty natural. But there's lots of talking shit in the shower, not very much about appearance.
- Do you soap each other up?
Henrik: No, no we don't
- Massage each other with liniment?
Henrik: No, we have our own massage therapists.
- Of course you do.
- It doesn't work like that in the shower right? And your bodies doesn't look like that either?
(They ask two questions he must answer)
- Which is your best homo erotic experience as a hockey player?
Henrik: Oh, wow...
- The best one of all of them, there are lots of them
- Do you want to think about it for a while, we'll come back to you.
Henrik: Oh wow.. You know, you're around-, you have 20 guys around you all the time, you travel with guys, you get changed with guys. You know, it becomes so natural, I don't know, it's hard to..
- I just have prejudices about those types of guys, that they're scared, that it's a bit homophobic.
Henrik: As a hockey team you get very close to one another, you travel a lot, you spend a lot of time together.. We don't have that problem though! but I think it differentiates between teams, how close you come to one another and what kind of acceptance you have. Some may get more nervous than others if you get too intimate.. Sorry, but I don't really have a memory that stands out! I don't want to make you disappointed but…
- How much money did you get for those pull-your-hair-movies?
Henrik: I'm sorry, I can't say that, it's breach of contract. But Sweden isn't a big country when it comes to promotion if you compare it to the US where there are totally different sums. Head & Shoulders is a pretty big company though, they make quite some money, so they're good at supporting you with money. But I can't talk about it, sorry. … Commercial money is such a small part for hockey players.
- But then why do you do it?
Henrik: Several reasons. I think it's incredibly funny with media, both radio and TV, and to work with companies that-, not that I was a part of creating the last campaign, but in the future...
- When your career is over would you like to continue being in the spotlight? Like, a sports commentator?
Henrik: Not necessarily in front of a camera, however in media. Definitely radio or-, I like that business, to create..
- What about music?
Henrik: Yeah, I play but I'm too bad, it'll just fall flat.
- How's it going with the harp?
Henrik: So-so.. But I think it's incredibly funny with music and guitar playing.
We meet Rangers star keeper in central Stockholm, a few days before the NHL Premiere in Stockholm Globe Arena. He is seemingly calm and relaxed, but recognizes that it is tight and a little nervous before the premiere.
- It's tight, you do not really know how to do it and how the team stands up. But I have a good feel for the team, there is good team and we have great new acquisitions, says Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers season.
While he looks forward to the season finally kicks off. He is charged and looks forward to opening the NHL season on Swedish ice.
- I'm loaded. I've thought about this season for quite some time now, it will be fun to go. It is clear that you've been thinking about playing in the Globe. But it is the same as the game against Frolunda, you do not really know how it will feel. I'll try to be very focused on my job and not think too much on where I'm playing somewhere. But it is clear that there is a very special feeling to come home with the Rangers, it all feels a bit unreal in some way.
When the New York Rangers played NHL debut in Europe first, then in Prague in autumn 2008, appeared the idea and the urge to play NHL debut in Sweden up by Henrik Lundqvist.
- When we played NHL debut in Prague three years ago, I thought pretty much that it would have been fun to play premiered in Sweden, and now I get it. I feel very fortunate.
Already on Friday the week before the first NHL game in the Globe played Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers training game against Frolunda in Scandinavium. A welcome return for Henry, who played in the club from early junior age until he left for Rangers as 23-year-old. In addition, he was able to be restored to his twin brother Joel.
- It was special in many ways. Frölunda has meant a lot to me for many years. I began to follow the club when I was 5 years. To get back there with the Rangers ... They stopped and thought about where you've been somewhere, where you are going and where you are right now. In addition, my family there, Frölunda made it all very nice for both me and my family. I'm very thankful for letting me be part of it.
- We were nervous to meet Joel. They did not want him to score goals, then you would hear the rest of their lives. We have met four times, we'll see if he gets no further chance. So far it has managed to keep him away from målprotokollet.
Henrik Lundqvist is confident on the season ahead. New York Rangers have a busy autumn ahead. It starts with the NHL Premiere in Sweden, which was preceded by a European tour where they met a number of European clubs. Right now the team's home arena, Madison Square Garden, being refurbished and will, according to Henry feel like a new arena for them. Then put it against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Winter Classic on New Year's Day, a match which means that the American giant production company HBO will follow Rangers prepare for the meeting during the course of a month and a half.
Rangers have set a target to do better than last season. You do not have to fight for the last playoff spots in the regular season last trembling rounds, as was the case last season.
- We aim to be higher than last year. We want to be a team in the top five and try to avoid this war on playoff spots at the end. We want to be a bit up and to prepare to implement a good endgame, says Henrik Lundqvist.
In New York Rangers training camp, which continued during the month of September, three promising young Swedes struggled to take place in the Rangers ordinary law. Tim Erixon has distinguished itself with good speed and good puck treatment, according to Henry. He thinks it is great that Erixon now get the chance to participate in the opening game in Stockholm.
- Tim Erixon is a very smart back, good with the puck. It's fun for him that he may make to the Stockholm games.
When it comes to his own competitors on goalie record celebrates Henry's backup, Martin Biron.
- Biron played very well last season, sorry he was injured towards the end of last season. But it is a good goalie, it is that I push myself to get the playing time I want. He is an experienced guy, so he knows what it's about. It feels good to have him on the team.
Asked if he follows his former team Frolunda is no doubt that Henrik Lundqvist has little control over their former club.
- Absolutely. The very top division in its entirety, I follow not so much, but right Frölunda, I have an eye on. There I have my brother as I like to check on how things are going for.
He is happy that the club started season well and think that the capacity to go all the way to national championships there.
- Their team looks very solid out, goalies are playing very well. It's fun to have begun so well. I got a good feeling when I was there last summer and trained with them, it was like a little fresh start for the club. The acquisitions made feel quite right. They can definitely go all the way through.
When we finally talk about this spring's World Championships, which partly goes back home in Sweden, recognizing Henry that it is clear that there would be special, but it requires as you can reload, both mentally and physically, to really help team.
- When you play a long season and are mentally tired, then it is extremely important that you get to the national team and can bring something. Otherwise it is better that someone else play instead. But it is clear that home World Cup is special.
But if there is no World Cup games for Henrik Lundqvist's part, we must wait and see until the spring.
- To play the World Cup at home is obviously special, but you have to take it then, depending on how the situation looks like.
Disclaimer: All of these photos were found at public sites; however, if you are in any of the fan photos and you would like me to remove a photo for you, do not hesitate to tell me as I will surely take it down for you. Also, as always if you would like to submit a photo of yourself and Henrik to the blog do not hesitate to e-mail me or post the photo on The Henrik Lundqvist Blog Facebook page.