Last night, the Vezina; late next month, a baby girl on the way for Henrik Lundqvist and his wife Therese, who will have their first child in New York, where the couple will spend the remainder of the summer as the Rangers goaltender prepares for another run at the Stanley Cup. “She’s going to be a New York baby. We’re really looking forward to that,” Lundqvist told The Post by phone from Las Vegas after the NHL Awards ceremonies in which he was named winner of the Vezina as the NHL’s outstanding goaltender in a vote of the league’s general managers.
“We went home to Sweden for about 10 days a couple of weeks ago, but now we’re going to spend the rest of the off-season in New York. We’re really excited about it.” Lundqvist was so excited about becoming the first Ranger to win the Vezina since 1985-86 when John Vanbiesbrouck captured the award, The King actually dropped the F-bomb during his acceptance speech on the show that was televised on the NBC-Sports Network. “I don’t know where that came from,” a chuckling Lundqvist said, reflecting on his acceptance speech that included the, ‘Oh bleep, I can’t believe this, it’s definitely a dream come true to stand up here’ language malfunction. “There were just so many emotions going through me, I was excited, nervous, I hadn’t written anything down and I wanted to remember to thank the people most important to me,” said Lundqvist, who outdistanced Los Angeles’ Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne in the voting. “I wanted to make sure to thank my teammates, the organization, my family, my wife and my goaltender coach, Benny [Allaire], who I think is the best out there and is such a big reason for where I am.” Lundqvist, who was selected to the first All-Star team while Marian Gaborik was named the second All-Star right wing, finished third in the voting for the Hart Trophy as MVP behind winner Evgeni Malkin and runner-up Steven Stamkos. The 30-year-old netminder and his team are one day shy of four weeks removed from their Game 6 overtime Battle of the Hudson playoff elimination by the Devils in the conference finals that made 2011-12 a “so close, yet so far” season. “I still think about it, it’s disappointing when you think of how it ended, especially when you feel you let such a good chance slip away, but I’ve accepted it and have moved on and now I’m putting all my focus on coming back and being even better next year,” he said. “There were so many good things we accomplished and we had so much fun as a team along the way, I don’t think we should forget about that because of the way it ended. “We should be proud of ourselves and what we accomplished,” said The King. “Now I think we all have a better idea of what it takes to go all the way. “For myself, I came into last year wanting to challenge myself to be the very best I could be; to be better. That’s exactly the way I’m challenging myself about next year; I am determined to keep getting better.”
Sure, he's an Olympian, a world champion, and an all-star goalie. But Henrik Lundqvist's proudest accomplishment so far? His daughter-to-be.
At a Calvin Klein tuxedo fitting for Wednesday's NHL Awards, the hockey star, 30, opened up to Us Weekly about getting ready to welcome a baby girl in late July with his wife of one year, Therese Andersson. "We're having a girl," Lundqvist revealed. "Watching all my friends go through [having kids], I think I know what to expect, but we'll see! I'm excited about it." The Swedish-born athlete also said his wife's pregnancy has been "pretty good" so far. "No sickness and stuff like that," he shared. As for the best advice he's gotten from other parents?
"Just sleep when you have the time to sleep," he said, laughing. "Especially in the first few months!"
One thing Lundqvist is sure of -- when it comes to his own children, he won't encourage any hockey hobbies. "I'm not planning to try to get her into hockey," the pro said of his plans to bond with his daughter off the ice. "I love tennis though -- why not? My sister played tennis growing up and I love it. I play tennis every summer."
The 2012 NHL Awards will air live from Las Vegas Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports.
And when Lundqvist—who will be a first-time father in little more than a month (“I’m not going to lie,” he said. “I’m nervous.”)— spoke of how much he appreciated how his own father would support him after a tough hockey loss, he could find no better example than with Astacio’s father, who was on hand to support his son. “I am so proud of him,” the senior Astacio said. As the lemonade and ice tea flowed, and hamburgers and salads gobbled up, the depth of commitment necessary to be a good dad was palpable in the crowd. So was the pure fun of being a pop. “I told Lundqvist if he needs help, he can call me,” said honoree Eric Green, who has raised seven children, mostly on his own. He spoke with a glint in his eye and a knowing laugh; being a dad is tough, and sometimes you need all the help you can get. But it’s well worth it.
Many of you have inquired as to whether or not Henrik will be conducting any public autograph signings during this offseason. As of now, he is only doing a private autograph signing with Steiner Sports on June 28. You can send in an item(s) for him to sign or you can pre-order from a selected group of memorabilia at their website.