TAMPA. Henrik Lundqvist is easier on the feet this year and more focused. Then he leads the New York Rangers to the best NHL start in the club's 89-year history.
One explanation is his new secret skates.
Henrik Lundqvist's blockbusters in the back of the New York Rangers laid the foundation for the team's success in recent years, it has taught us.
But as good as the Swede started this season, he has never done before. And winners has travats on each other.
Admittedly stopped victory of the suite the night of Friday in Amalie Arena in Tampa, but Rangers have shown that the team has a game that can carry very far this year.
Henrik Lundqvist would try to be better already in the beginning was a decision he and coach Alain Vigneault agreed when they separated after the loss against the right Tampa in spring Stanley Cup semifinals.
How have you changed preseason workouts to be in this brilliant form directly?
- I have not changed so much in training, but it is more about greater focus on the mental part. I have prepared myself thoroughly, played less games in the preseason and bet on good training and outs of the game, says Henrik, when DN meet him after the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
- But much of the game is about to feel comfortable. The physical, technical and mental, everything should be right. All that has felt good now when I added more focus to be on your toes directly.
The results have come. Not only in victories for the team but in the personal statistics for Henrik, where he already had several club records.
No one has won more victories than his ten and rescue percentage is 94.6 in the 15 games he stood. It is insanely good.
One detail that talk of his new skates. A secret with them is that the plastic strip that sat on the skodelens inside of the skate is removed.
Henry explains why:
- It allows me to get a better grip of the ice sideways movements. They are also lighter and slimmer.
But they have apparently helped?
- It has well been enlarged up, but at this level playing every detail role. It's about how you exercise, rest and focus. The equipment is also part of it. I feel that I am faster in the feet this year.
There has hardly been a quarter of the season, and so far everything has gone well. But there are not awarded any Stanley Cup dents in November, so how do you maintain the shape of May and June?
- That is correct. This is not a sprint. It's a marathon, emphasizes Henrik and continues:
- You can not see too far ahead simply. I take one match at a time and try to enjoy the journey. It is much games, but I think it's fun to play.
Victory suite of nine straight came during a relatively quiet period.
- We are entering an intense period now with much matches. It is now the case to be ready.
Two debates in North America, affecting especially goalkeepers. Målfabrikationen has decreased, and when there is talk of making the targets more and goalies' protection less.
What do you think about it?
- It is difficult. Show me the guards first. We are now at a point where the game is fast and they shoot extremely hard. We begin to get into the safety, I am not so positive.
- It may not be too much focus on the goalkeeper either. It applies to the whole team. If you want to watch good hockey, it is important to have good intensity and scoring opportunities. Goalkeeper game has also progressed tremendously just since I came here ten years ago. The level at all is extremely high, plus all much larger.
Bigger goals then?
- Sad to change something that looked the same all the time. I think that's a shame.
The other snack ice is three against three in the All-Star game.
- I think it's great that they replace. They want to make it something special for the fans. The whole week is fun, so why not, says Henrik Lundqvist
PHILADELPHIA — As Henrik (Mars) Lundqvist said: “It’s the skates. The skates? It’s got to be the skates.”
Well, no, the Rangers’ goaltender did not quite say that when asked if he could explain the volume of acrobatic circus saves he has made while flying through the air these first two-plus weeks of the season, but he did come close.
For as previously reported by The Post, Lundqvist is wearing a new fashion of Bauer goaltenders’ skates this year, ones without the toe cap that allow him to dig in his blades at a sharper angle into the ice so he can both better close off the low five-hole while getting a better push when needed.
“The way I can move in my new skates and new pads has definitely helped my game,” The King told The Post before Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Flyers on Saturday night. “Maybe it’s a small point, but what can I say? I really like the new skates.
“I feel that I’m lighter on my feet. I feel I’ve moved better around the net. It’s been easier for me to recover.”
Lundqvist has turned in a handful of exclamation-point worthy stops on which he has simply launched himself across the crease to make full extension saves on point-blank tries into what had appeared to be empty nets.
There was the lunging stop on Anthony Duclair late in Thursday’s 4-1 victory over the Coyotes, when Lundqvist scrambled back from the end boards for a full extension stop after losing the puck to Max Domi before the Coyotes’ winger fed the Duke in the low left circle.
But that one had nothing on the diving, must-have-been-an-optical-illusion-of-a-stop he had made on Ryan Johansen in the Oct. 10 Garden-opening 5-2 victory over the Jackets, when Lundqvist soared through the air after a ricochet off the backboards had set up Columbus’ best player with a wide open net.
“You know, I don’t want to make a big deal about the skates because obviously there’s more to it than that,” he said. “And I have to say that there’s a lot of luck involved on saves like that. You don’t plan saves like that.
“But when you’re caught out of position like that, the key is not to panic. Maybe you have to make a move that doesn’t seem logical, but it’s important that you don’t lose your head and start scrambling too early.”
There are, by the way, no points awarded for degree of difficulty on the most acrobatic of stops. No three-point plays.
“The biggest thing on those kinds of saves really comes down to compete level,” Lundqvist said. “It’s about maintaining your focus.
“When you make saves like that, it’s a good reminder never to give up.”