“They’re fun. He’s a guy that people put on a pedestal, with reason,” Brodeur said of Lundqvist tonight. “He’s a popular guy in a popular city where hockey is really important and he’s playing really well. “Regardless of where he is in his career I think right now they’re putting him up there with the top goalies. For him, it’s going to be important to keep it up. For me, it’s a nice matchup to play against the top goalie in the league.”
Tom Gulitti @TGfireandice Brodeur on Lundqvist's Vezina chances: "I haven't looked at the other goalies (in West), but on our side by far I think he should get it."
Forget Linsanity for just a second. When the Knicks aren’t playing at Madison Square Garden, the place is teeming with true blue hockey fans. Check the standings—the New York Rangers have a real shot at the Stanley Cup this year, which would be the first time they win hockey’s Holy Grail since 1994. Should they go all the way, it will be thanks in no small part to the one player whose face you barely see on the ice: goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Hailing from Sweden, where his twin brother Joel is a hockey star in his own right, Lundqvist is in the midst of a career-definining season. But he isn’t just a gifted goalie. He's something of a Renaissance man; the NHL star is also a talented guitar player, budding fashionista and restaurateur to boot. We got him on the boards and sought out some answers about everything from what he eats to who he jams with to whether or not the Rangers can go all the way.
You have a pretty strict pre-game ritual…
I always eat spaghetti and meat sauce on game day. I’ve been doing that for a lot of years. I love Italian, so I don’t mind it. In the afternoon, I always have oatmeal before I go to the rink. We eat lunch around 12:30, then have a little afternoon snack, then we don’t eat again till after the game, which could be 11:30 at night. So, you need something to keep you going. A lot of guys have the same routine… always eat the same thing. You know, keep it simple.
Are there any foods that you think make you flexible? You know, for those side-split saves?
No. But if you find one, let me know.
You’re always in different cities for games. Do you have a favorite food city?
Montreal has pretty good food. The whole city is a little more European, so it’s a bit more what I’m used to. But it doesn’t matter where we are – on game day, we always have the same food. Whether we’re playing in Philly or Boston or Montreal, the hotel will have a list of foods for us. So, you always know what to expect. When it comes to meals, at least.
Last year, you opened a restaurant called Tiny’s in New York with your then-teammate Sean Avery. Had you always wanted to get into the restaurant business?
No, it just happened. A couple friends approached me and I was just excited to do it with them and Sean. It’s been great; it’s a place I love to bring friends and hang out. I love the food and atmosphere there. It’s a pretty simple menu. I would say it’s American comfort food. The sandwiches are my favorite. Obviously, we need some meatballs on the menu to keep the Swedish flag flying.
Are there any foods from Sweden that you miss?
I don’t really miss anything in particular. I guess it’s just the way the food is cooked there; you can just tell it was cooked in Sweden. The food there just feels healthier.
You sometimes jam with John McEnroe and recently played a gig with him for charity. When did you start playing guitar?
I started young, when I was eight or nine years old, playing guitar with my brother. It’s always been there, but I don’t think I play enough to take it to the next level. But I’m having fun with it. It helps me relax and get away from the game a little bit. We focus so much on hockey that to do something completely different is refreshing.
You’re also known for being a stylish dresser. Quite a change from the old hockey-hair image of NHL players, no?
When I first started playing pro back in Sweden, you could tell that the older players didn’t really care how they dressed. I think it’s changing a bit. Maybe it was unusual for hockey players to care about fashion in the past, but I think more and more players are picking it up and caring more about how they dress. I use a lot of different designers – some Swedish, like Tiger of Sweden. I like a pretty clean look, but with a little edge.
Do you get recognized as much here as you do in Sweden?
In New York, you can kind of disappear from it a little. There’s just so much else going on. It makes people care about the team a little more, but it also means you can live a life that’s pretty normal.
The Rangers have been having a great season. Think you could be champions this year?
It’s been a great year. It’s fun to win; you get confident. I’ve been pushing myself to have a really good year and the team has, as well. Now, it comes down to improving our game in the stretch before the playoffs. We can have a good run in the playoffs, but we need to keep pushing ourselves. But it’s definitely been a really fun season so far. I always say, it’s all about winning. Because when you win, you build confidence and have more fun.
- Henrik Lundqvist won his 30th game of the season, stopping all 13 shots faced to post his league-leading, eighth shutout of the season, and 43rd of his career. He became the fourth goalie in NHL history to post 30+ wins in seven or more consecutive seasons, joining Tony Esposito (7 from 1969-70 to 1975-76), Patrick Roy (8 from 1995-96 to 2002-03) and Martin Brodeur (12 from 1995-96 to 2007-08). He also increased his own NHL record of most 30+ win seasons to begin his career.
- Lundqvist improved to 30-12-4 overall, including a 16-6-2 mark at home this season. He is now 10-2-0 with a 1.24 goals against average, .952 save percentage and four shutouts in his last 12 games. He has posted five shutouts in his last 14 games, has allowed one goal or less in 13 of his last 26 games, and has held opponents to two or fewer goals in 34 games this season.
- Henrik Lundqvist has faced-off against Martin Brodeur in 33 career regular season games, posting a record of 22-6-5 with a 1.72 GAA, .936 Sv% and five shutouts over the span.
Henrik Lundqvist on winning 30 games in seven straight seasons:
“I remember my first year it was a big deal to reach thirty wins, and now it’s the seventh straight year to reach it, obviously it means a lot to me. It means that things have been going well but it also means that I play for a club that’s given me the opportunity to play a lot. I have a pretty good team in front of me as well. But I’m happy that I reached it again, and you always want to improve from each year. You want to get better; so far this year it’s been a good ride.”
It's not just at home in Sweden are born blue and yellow royal children.
The Swedish "king" in New York to become a father. - Yes, we will have a baby in July. It will be very fun and exciting, both I and Therese is very charged for this, says Henrik Lundqvist for Sportbladet
Yes, the stork seems to be fond of Swedish hockey stars right now.
First came the news that Mats Sundin will be father and then to Peter Forsberg and his Nicole waits small.
Day in July
And now Sportbladet thus revealing that Henrik Lundqvist and his wife Therese also to have a baby this summer.
- Yes, it seems like people to have children right and left right now, says Henry with a laugh.
- We'll see if we can not get our act together and scrape together a tiny hockey team going forward.
King Henry and his Therese, who married in the Caribbean this summer, get to meet her prince, or princess, in July.
- It's rewarding and exciting, there will be a new chapter in life, says, "Henke".
- Both me and Therese is very charged for this.
In the summer of 2012 may be unforgettable in many ways for Lundqvist, who last night performed a rock show with John McEnroe in Manhattan and the following day to report that he, like a rock star has "a little pain in my ears."
As his Rangers played this season, they may of course be a challenge for the Stanley Cup title - and he himself is likely candidate for the individual trophies Vezina (to the NHL's best goalie) and Hart (to the NHL's most valuable player) at the Awards Awards in Las Vegas just before midsummer.
- Yes, I'm hoping for a real jackpot this summer. Why not, that would be really great, laughs Henry.
Meanwhile, goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who probably will not start both games of this back to back, including hosting the Sabres on Saturday, was still pretty pumped up over his sold-out charity gig last night at The Canal Room. Lundqvist doesn’t have the final figures but his six-piece band with tennis great John McEnroe, drummer Jay Weinberg (son of Max, who was in attendance) and singer Tarah Healy, dubbed The Noise Upstairs, played to over 400 people and I believe tickets were $150 a pop as they raised money for The Garden of Dreams and McEnroe’s Johnny Mac Tennis Project.
Lundqvist said there will be video and audio available soon on the rockofdreams.com website. It went so well that Lundqvist hopes to turn it into an annual event.
Lundqvist and Tarah Healy have done some occasional gigs at Tiny’s, the lower Manhattan restaurant Sean Avery opened with Lundqvist and Lundqvist said about four months ago it evolved into this bigger idea of doing a charity gig.
The setlist was mainly culled from popular rock in the 1980s and ‘90s, with some Kings of Leon and Adele thrown in as well. Lundqvist said he’s probably most comfortable playing Foo Fighters material - “My Hero,” “Everlong,” “Times Like These” - but he also took a nice lead on Guns ‘n Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” which turned into a medley with Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
“It was great,” Lundqvist said of the gig. “I’m so happy it happened. We got it together in a couple of months and a lot of people at the Garden of Dreams helped out.”
Lundqvist said he’s played guitar once before in front of a similarly large crowd but it was in Sweden when he joined an established band on the stage. This time, he knew it was his band so he considers this the “first big show.”
“It was exciting the last few weeks before the event making decisions and there are a lot of things you don’t expect,” Lundqvist said.
I asked him who was in charge of the setlist.
“Some songs, we were not 100 percent on the same page,” Lundqvist said, laughing. “We wanted a set list with something for everybody. There was some old-school rock and some new stuff.”
Lundqvist was also asked the difference between being on stage with a band and playing goalie in front of a sold-out arena.
“It’s a similar feeling,” Lundqvist said. “But when you go out and make an event, you want everybody to have a good time. That’s different from a game where I focus on me and what I have to do. Even though people are helping me (with the gig), I still want it to go smoothly.
“It was exciting to play,” Lundqvist added. “I don’t think that I was nervous. I was excited.”
As he’s said many times in the past, getting to do outside-hockey events - or even just going to a movie or a show - helps him with his hockey because it allows him to take a much-needed mental break. It’s one of the reasons Lundqvist said he loves living in New York.
“It helps me and it helps my game,” Lundqvist said.
Wednesday night at The Canal Room, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist traded in his mask and pads for his guitar and took to the stage with The Noise Upstairs for a concert dubbed Rock of Dreams---a benefit for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and tennis legend John McEnroe's Johnny Mac Tennis Project.
"It was great, and I am so happy that it happened," Lundqvist said of the concert Thursday after practice. "It was sold out, and I don't have the final numbers, but I know we raised a lot of money for The Garden of Dreams and the Johnny Mac Tennis Project. That was the goal: to have a fun night and to raise a lot of money."
Most of Lundqvist's Ranger teammates were on hand to support what The King referred to as his "first big show...where it was my gig". Lundqvist not only played rhythm guitar with the band, but he had a major hand in putting the entire event together.
"I am happy it turned out the way it did," explained Lundqvist. "It was exciting to play, and I don't think I was that nervous. I was more excited."
The Noise Upstairs---the band named after what Lundqvist and the group's singers Tarah and John Healy thought sounded appropriate based on jams at his New York City restaurant Tiny's---performed a varied selection of classic and modern rock covers from bands including Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, The Rolling Stones, Guns and Roses, and Eric Clapton, among others.
Though playing rhythm most of the night, Lundqvist did step forward to perform the lead on "Sweet Child of Mine", the classic Guns and Roses song.
When asked about the set list, Lundqvist laughed and said, "I think some songs we were not exactly on the same page (in selecting), but we wanted a set list where there was something for everybody. And I think we managed to do that."
Lundqvist admitted on Thursday that in some ways taking to the stage to play guitar in a concert was not completely dissimilar to heading out on to the ice to tend goal for the Rangers.
"Going on to the stage and performing was a similar feeling (to playing in a game)," explained Lundqvist. "The difference here was you just want everybody to have a good time. When I play a game I just focus on me and what I have to do. But both are exciting."
The Rangers No. 1 netminder, who said that he is hoping to arrange for a similar benefit concert next year---"why not do this every year? that's the goal"---also pointed out that this concert, and just playing guitar in general, has helped him relax away from the hockey rink, something he finds immensely important during the grind of a long season.
"I think it's important that you get away from the game and have other hobbies and do other things," stated Lundqvist. "It definitely helps me, and helps my game, too. It helps me to relax, and then when I come to the rink I am more excited and reenergized every time I do something else. It's key for me to get away from the game between practices and games."
The concert at The Canal Room was professionally recorded. Please check www.RockOfDreams.com in the coming days and weeks for photos, videos, and audio selections from the concert featuring The Noise Upstairs.
The King´s Crown, that is the name of the New York Rangers keeper Henrik Lundqvist´s new mask, and it could not have a better name...
I´ve been working Henrik for more than 14 years now, and together we have created and evolved a completely unique mask style for him, and we evolve it from year to year. Henrik is very interested in his masks and we talk a lot and discuss every detail, it is so incredible exciting to create your mask look Henrik.
This new design is a continuation from Henrik´s previous designs and also from Henrik´s incredibly popular Winter Classic mask. Lots of bling bling glitter, and just as usual extreme detail work and DAVEART 3-D PaintTech and DAVEART Holographix FX.
Our goal was to create a design that delivers no matter what angle or distance you look at the mask from.
GREENBURGH, N.Y.—For a few seconds during a 42-save shutout of the Boston Bruins last Tuesday, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist found himself flat on his back, flopping about as if he were a freshly caught flounder in the bottom of a boat.
He had just kicked aside a slap shot by Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara, and in pursuit of the rebound, no fewer than seven players had shoehorned themselves into the goal crease. The crush of bodies knocked Lundqvist off his feet and left him facing the inside of his net as the puck glided into the slot toward Chara, who raised his stick to fire again.
What happened next stands as perhaps the signature moment of Lundqvist's season: He blocked Chara's second shot without seeing it. This wasn't dumb luck—not for Lundqvist, who's in the midst of the best season of his seven-year career and has emerged as a candidate for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. In fact, a detailed examination of the entire sequence illustrates how Lundqvist's physical skills and mental sharpness helped him pull off more of his hallmark magic.
Though Chara's slap shot was clocked at a league-high 108.8 mph during this year's skills competition at the All-Star Game, it was surprising neither that Lundqvist fended off the initial scoring chance nor that the mass of humanity practically swallowed him up. Unlike most goaltenders, who push themselves forward on their skates to cut down an opponent's shooting angle, Lundqvist tends to remain deep in his net. He trusts his reflexes so much that he wants an extra few milliseconds to react to any shot.
"I don't feel the need to charge out and make a block," said Lundqvist, who leads the league in shutouts (7) and is tied for the lead in save percentage (.940).
Lundqvist's positioning can leave him vulnerable to high shots, even those from 20 feet out or more, because he's willing to sacrifice covering more of the net for the sake of flashing his glove or blocker to make a save, said Steve McKichan, a former goaltending coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Chara's slap shot sailed just a couple of inches off the ice, and Lundqvist is so flexible that he can fan his legs into a V and seal off the lower portion of the net. "There's nobody in the NHL better at taking care of the bottom 16 inches than Henrik Lundqvist," McKichan said.
By remaining so deep in the net, Lundqvist also affords himself more time to survey the ice in front of him, focus his attention on the puck and anticipate the opposition's next play. This is no small thing, according to Dr. Joan Vickers, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Calgary who has studied the eye movements of elite athletes, goaltenders in particular. In her research, Vickers has found that many athletes use what she has termed "the quiet eye": They concentrate so singularly on the movements of a ball or puck that, as they accumulate experience in their sports, they train themselves to pick up on cues that reveal the object's flight path and destination. Just as an accomplished hitter can read a pitcher's arm angle to anticipate a slider or a wide receiver can catch a pass with his eyes closed, Lundqvist—who first played goalie in organized games as an 8-year-old growing up in Sweden—can notice subtle clues that give away when, where and how an opponent's shot will travel.
"If you wait to follow the puck, it's going to be too late," Vickers said in a phone interview. "So the real critical eye movements are much earlier than most people ever imagined. [Goalies are] actually able to read how the body moves and how the stick moves, and from that they're able to detect, when the puck is shot, how high it's going to be, the direction of the shot, and the speed of the shot."
In a sense, these two attributes—his attentiveness to the activity in front of him, and the repository of memories and intuition he's collected over his years of tending goal—can allow Lundqvist to predict where the puck will end up before it gets there. And they served him well after he stopped Chara's first shot. As the crowd of players toppled him like a tower of toy blocks and drove him backward toward the net, Lundqvist lost sight of the puck. It lay to his right, hidden from him by a thicket of arms, skates and sticks, but referee Dave Jackson, stationed behind the Rangers' net, never blew his whistle to stop play.
"Every time that happens, you know you're in trouble," Lundqvist said. "You don't know where to put your body. You don't want to have that feeling."
Had Lundqvist not been playing so close to the net, of course, the horde of players might not have knocked him over in the first place. Nevertheless, even blind to the play and prone on the ice, he still had one advantage, a bit of good fortune made possible by his positioning: He had remained in the center of the goal crease. At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Lundqvist could cover up a good portion of the mostly vacant net merely by lifting his body. He still didn't know where the puck was, though, and in such situations, he said, "it's almost like a guessing game sometimes. Sometimes you read from the players."
After five seconds passed without a whistle, Lundqvist did exactly that. He noticed some movement behind his left shoulder: Boston's Jordan Caron had scooped up the puck and slid it into the slot to Chara, who had cruised in from the blue line and was preparing to release a one-timer toward the net. Banking that a shot would soon be coming, Lundqvist raised his head, giving it a half-turn toward the slot, and threw his arms and legs upward.
Chara's shot struck Lundqvist in the mask and caromed away. "My head was in perfect position," Lundqvist said. "I'm just lucky it didn't go any higher." Twenty eight minutes remained in the game, a 3-0 Rangers victory. Despite controlling the flow of play all night, the Bruins never came so close to scoring again, and it was difficult to determine the more impressive aspect of Lundqvist's performance: that he stopped the 41 shots he did see, or that he stopped the one he didn't.
The best professional athlete in New York heard his name chanted again Sunday at Madison Square Garden, though he had by his standards an average game. Henrik Lundqvist saw 26 shots from the Washington Capitals and stopped 24 of them. There were no breathtaking saves, no moments in which Lundqvist flashed such grace and athleticism that you wondered if he were more than human. He played well. The Rangers won again. Ho-hum.
For five games, the phenomenon that is Jeremy Lin has breathed life back into the Knicks. Once bound for a season of failure and unmet expectations, they have become a better basketball team—a winning basketball team—and a national curiosity because of him. But in the biggest sports town in the country, Lin is just one more figure casting a shadow over Lundqvist and what he is doing this season. The Rangers keep winning, keep establishing themselves as a favorite to win the Stanley Cup, and their goaltender is the reason for their revival.
So put aside the fun of Linsanity for a second, and consider this truth about Lundqvist and the Rangers: In the midst of the finest season of his seven-year career—one that already had established him as one of the NHL's elite goaltenders—Lundqvist is the best player in New York. Not the best hockey player. The best player, period. More than that, he's the most indispensable player in New York. No pro franchise in this city is so dependent on so accomplished an athlete.
There's no second baseman in Major League Baseball who can hit and field with the natural ease of the Yankees' Robinson Cano, yet according to the Baseball Writers Association of America, Cano wasn't the most valuable player on his own team last year. Curtis Granderson was. (And at their stages of their careers, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are no longer as vital to the Yankees' fortunes as they once were.) Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire can be marvelous scorers. But the Knicks were going nowhere with them until Lin came along, and he has managed, in a week's time, to prove to 'Melo and Amar'e that there's more to basketball than deploying an array of dazzling one-on-one moves. The Jets' Darrelle Revis? Sorry. No cornerback covers better, but he can't stop an opposing quarterback from throwing the football to someone else. And opposing quarterbacks did just that against the Jets last season. A lot.
At this time, the only New York athlete who can approximate Lundqvist's talent and worth is Eli Manning, who recently completed the finest regular season of his career before winning his second Super Bowl. But bear in mind: The Giants were 7-7, on the precipice of missing the playoffs, until their defense stabilized itself. Manning had a terrific year, but he wouldn't be on his way to Disney World again had Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Michael Bolley not returned to the lineup in time.
By comparison, Lundqvist's impact on the Rangers exceeds Manning's on the Giants. Much of the credit for the Rangers' improvement from last season, when they clinched the Eastern Conference's eighth playoff spot on the regular season's final day, to this season has gone to coach John Tortorella and his emphasis on disciplined defensive play. Here's the thing, though: Tortorella emphasized defense in 2010-11, too, and he got pretty much identical results from his forwards and defensemen.
Per game, the Rangers this season are scoring the same number of goals, allowing the same number of shots on goal, blocking the same number of shots and affording their opponents the same number of power plays as they did last season. So why were they fortunate to be a playoff team last season, and why are they the class of their conference this season? The difference is Lundqvist's play. His save percentage has risen to .939—which, if he manages to maintain it, would set a league record—from .923. His goals-against average has fallen to 1.81 from 2.28. He leads the NHL in shutouts (with six so far), just as he did last season (with 11).
He has done all this while the noise created by the Giants' Super Bowl, the Jets' collapse, the Yankees' offseason and now Lin's emergence have drowned out his and the Rangers' steady success.
That his excellence has come amid such silence, though, doesn't make it less meaningful. If New York ends up celebrating another championship this summer, everyone already knows one thing about the parade route. It will start at the ice at Henrik Lundqvist's feet.
Rangers stars get fashionable
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and center Brandon Dubinsky were on hand this week for DKNY men’s fall 2012 presentation at 475 10th Avenue, with the band Holy Ghost playing against a skyline backdrop. DKNY recently signed an agreement with the Rangers to have the its logo on their practice jerseys. It is the first fashion brand to have their logo featured on the ice in Madison Square Garden.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist saved some time recently to chat with Post columnist Steve Serby.
Q: What special quality do you think this year’s team has that maybe others haven’t had?
A: We’ve been a hard-working team, but what I feel this year is we’re a little bit more consistent. We’re a little bit more mature group, that can handle ups and downs maybe a little bit better.
Q: If teams take on the personality of their coach, what would the personality of this team be?
A: We try to leave everything out there. ... We’re talking about Torts (John Tortorella), he leaves everything out there. He’s very determined ... passionate. And I think being a passionate team, that’s something that goes a long way, to have that fire, and you want to give everything out there.
Q: Is this the most passionate team you’ve played on in New York?
A: Yeah, I think so. ... I mean, it’s hard to say if it’s just being passionate but ... it’s a combination of a lot of things ... being more mature, but being ready to pay the price. ... It’s a combination of a lot of things that I really like about this year.
Q: Is it a hungry team?
A: Yeah. We’ve been in the first round, second round but ... I think we’re hungry for more.
Q: What do you think about the Super Bowl champion Giants?
A: It’s inspiring, no question, to see a New York team have success like that. I’m not gonna lie, I think about it. I think about going all the way, winning it. ... We have pictures there at the practice facility from ’94 and you see all the fans and you see the players. ... I won a few championships back [in Sweden] and the Olympics, and just that feeling of winning and satisfaction of accomplishing something that big ... that’s what drives you.
Q: Can this team do what the Giants did?
A: I believe we can do it, yeah. We’re good enough to win ... but to go all the way ... it’s a long road. You need all 20 guys to play their best. I kinda compare ourselves to Boston, how they play. They play hard. They have four lines going. ... Tim Thomas plays really well in net ... but that’s what it’s gonna take, everybody to play at their absolute best, and then we have a chance.
Q: What’s it like being The King?
A: (Chuckle). Well, I definitely don’t feel like The King, or anything close to it. ... It’s a funny nickname. It started my first years. In the beginning it was weird to have people scream that — like, “Hey King Henrik” — it’s kinda awkward almost (laugh). But now it’s like Year 7, and I kinda got used to it. ... I mean, it could be worse ... but I try not to take it too serious (chuckle).
Q: How do you feel about turning 30 on March 2? A: I’m right where I want to be. There’s no panic attack that I’m turning 30 (smile). Q: How would you sum up what it’s been like being goaltender for the New York Rangers? A: It’s been a great challenge and a fun ride. Playing in New York, especially when you do well, it’s an incredible feeling. But obviously we’ve been going through some times where it’s been a little tougher, but that also ... it just makes you even harder to get back on track. I didn’t really know what to expect when I came here. I come from a pretty small town, so I was pretty open-minded about everything — like how to approach the game and everything around the game — and so far I love everything about it.
Q: How do you deal with the pressures of being the goaltender in New York?
A: You try to, I think, bring it down to a level where it feels comfortable for you. Yes, I know a lot of people expect a lot of us and me, a lot of people put pressure on us ... but you try just to focus on what you have to do, and it’s what I do every do, and I practice on it every day. So when it’s game time you try to just keep that level where it’s like, “OK, this is what I do, don’t think too much.” That’s what happens sometimes when you struggle, you start thinking too much, and you start thinking about all the people that are putting pressure on you, and they want you to play well, and all this. ... It comes for me just to stop the puck. So being the goalie here, I just try to break it down — stop the puck, that’s it. Don’t try to overthink it.
Q: You married your Swedish sweetheart, Therese, last summer.
A: She’s very supportive and caring. We understand each other. She knows me really well. It’s a great feeling to have someone that you can trust 100 percent. We have a lot of fun together.
Q: How does she deal with you being a sex symbol?
A: (Chuckle) Obviously when you play sports, you get more attention. ... It’s not easy always, but she handles things really well. I think she was well prepared as well for New York. ... It’s not always easy to be next to the person that is getting a lot of attention or have people around you asking for stuff all the time.
Q: What drives you?
A: Winning. Pretty simple. Growing up, all that mattered to me was winning. Doesn’t matter it was skiing or soccer or hockey ... playing cards.
Q: Winning a Vezina Trophy?
A: It’s a dream, no question, to win Vezina, yeah. It’s the ultimate prize for a goalie, I think. It’s a goal. I think it motivates me a lot to try to be the best.
Q: In the last year, where do you think you’ve made the biggest improvement in your game?
A: Smart player ... very professional in everything he does ... great hockey sense.
Q: Brandon Dubinsky?
A: Hard-working ... great teammate. ... He will always stand up for you. ... If there’s a scrum, Dubi will go in first and make sure nobody’s touching his teammate.
Q: Marion Gaborik?
A: Great skater, sniper ... focused.
Q: Ryan Callahan?
A: Warrior ... always paying the price ... leader. ... He leads the way he plays ... physical.
Q: King Henrik? A: (Laugh) Focused ... competitor ... love winning.
Q: Funniest guy on the team?
A: [Dan] Girardi’s pretty funny. He always talks to himself and it’s pretty funny. He does it on the ice, too. I’m used to it now, but the first couple of times it happened, I was like, “Who is he talking to?”
Q: Athlete in other sports you admire?
A: Roger Federer.
Q: How did you become friendly with John McEnroe?
A: We’ve been running into each other over the years here in New York, in concerts and hockey games, and we talk about music, and finally we’re jamming together and then came up with an idea to host a rock show and raise money for charity. It’s been a lot of fun, jamming.
Q: His temperament when he played was the exact opposite of yours.
A: (Chuckle) I mean, when I play and then things go the wrong way, I can be pretty upset, too ... but he’s a very cool guy, and very nice guy.