NEW YORK - If Carey Price is seen as the body and soul of the Canadian, Henrik Lundqvist is also essential to the success of the New York Rangers. But that's where the comparisons between the two guards stop.
The first is of discrete nature. His contacts with the media seem increasingly reduced. The attention he receives as the star of a true Montreal institution, he would without.
The second chasing the spotlight. His personal website published an article recounting his best five appearances on the cover of a magazine; four magazines were not even sports publications! He played guitar on the show Jimmy Fallon and more recently, he stopped the pumpkin pies the famous host threw at him with a hockey stick.
Let's not imagine that Carey Price on the set of Éric Salvail doing antics with the facilitator.
If they sought equivalent, should instead turn to PK Subban. "It is important to clear his head. What better way than to build your own brand? "Said defender Canadiens.
THE ESSENCE OF NEW YORK
"Henrik is not a simple hockey player. This is a celebrity, "said John Rosasco, vice president of public relations Rangers, which must filter a" considerable "number of requests for his player.
Lundqvist is notably appeared on the cover of Gotham Magazine and a catalog of Bloomingdale's chain. Tag Heuer has teamed up with him to create a watch. Vanity Fair has appointed two consecutive years, among the best-dressed men. Head & Shoulders has chosen to play in a shampoo advertising in Sweden. He has his own restaurant in TriBeCa, a center of the New York elite.
His personal website presents the headings "Music", "Fashion" and "Crown Collection", his own clothing collection.
Gerald Eskenazi has just written the article about him in Gotham. This venerable journalist began covering the New York Rangers in 1964. He saw snow.
"It is quite ironic. When I started, the general manager and coach of the Rangers, Emile Francis was afraid of Manhattan, says Mr. Eskenazi. According to him, all players could be in Manhattan, it was getting into problems. So he asked the players to live in Long Beach, a remote suburb.
"Then, in the 70s, the owner wanted his players become more integrated in New York. The Rangers, at the time, had nothing in New York. They did not live in Manhattan, they were little Canadians who came from small towns. The owner wanted the players out in the bars around the arena!
"And then I met Henrik Lundqvist, who lives here, who walks with his children in the city, he is well in sight, he is well dressed. He intrigued me. "
When we asked Mr. Eskenazi how it compares Lundqvist on the ascendancy of the metropolis, it responds with names like Mark Messier, Rodrigue Gilbert or even Ron Duguay, another hunk that was in harmony with his adopted city . "But it is not transcended hockey," he recalls.
"Henrik embodies the essence of New York, says Eskenazi. Few athletes live in the island. We have several teams but they do not all play here. The Jets and Giants are in New Jersey. The Rangers players often live in Westchester [near the training center]. Henrik symbolizes the new generation. "
AT A GOOD PLACE
The hockey world has always been a bit chilly to athletes who "stand out". But with his performance on the ice, with its incredible 9 consecutive seasons of 30 wins (and he won 24 during the lockout season in 2013), Lundqvist ensures that its ambitions off the ice are not criticized .
"He's such a good person, it is easy to navigate and he's our best player, launches his head coach Alain Vigneault. He is the image of the New York Rangers.
"He has to spend some money on his clothes ... these are not second-hand business! Vigneault continues, laughing. But in his way of behaving, to walk from the hotel to the arena, to fly, it's as if he was going to work. And that's what I say to the players to dress as if they were at work. "
"I have never had a teammate like him. But even if there are several external projects, its concentration is first on hockey. "
- Derick Brassard
"My focus has always been on hockey, but when you live in New York, you have the chance to explore more things and I like it, says Lundqvist. I also like to get away from hockey, focus on something else. It helps me play better. It gives me energy when I get to the arena and I did not think hockey round the clock, seven days a week.
"Outside of the ice, my biggest project, are my children. I have two and it's been a change in recent years. But New York is a great city. You let yourself be inspired by many different things. "
Former Yankees Derek Jeter definitely comes top of the list when you think athletes who have transcended their sport in New York. Obviously, we must add the name of Lundqvist search.
"In New York, it's very hard for an athlete to stand out because of all the teams that play here, said Gerald Eskenazi. But when you succeed there, your voice is stronger. As Frank Sinatra sang, If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere. "