Henrik Lundqvist steps with wide strides into the locker room at Madison Square Garden. He rocks forward, not unlike a penguin.
During the specially painted mask by David Gunnarsson glistening eyes.
Rangers are on a winning track again - and ate the three goals back against the Calgary Flames, two for control via your own player, you can not do very much.
The goalkeeper removes his helmet and guards on the upper body. The black and slim sweater under protection remains when he sits down in his place.
Lap after lap of transparent tape wrapped loose from his ankles. An own special solution with foam lifted. The new pants are still on. They are now slim, after a rule change to get more goals in the league.
No reporter walks up. After twelve years in New York they have all learned.
Before Lundqvist takes the equipment off he does not talk, but this time he makes an exception and comes up and greets with a broad smile.
- It's finfrämmande, he says with a laugh.
He pulls on itself a hooded shirt with the club logo and pulls down a Reebok cap over the sweaty forelock which earned him a well-paid advertising contract for the shampoo.
Shoot, as well.
And suddenly it says 30 reporters with cameras and sound-absorbing mobiles around him.
We are on Henrik Lundqvist's home again.
It's been a strange season. For the first time ever, the king of New York hockey questioned. Finnish rival Antti Raanta even looked to keep the Swede on the bench earlier in vinter.Ändå Lundqvist has erased childhood idol Dominik Hašeks record, in most NHL victories as a European goalkeeper.
- Oh, questioned ... I still feel that I have won 24 games and 13 losses. So bad it's not. The only problem is that when it is gone bad ... so it's been sooo bad. It is clear that it has not seen the good, the numbers do not look good. But overall I am pleased with many matches, many things. That's what got me to maintain self-confidence, says Henrik.
You turn 35 in a month. Could it be that it is more difficult to light during the 82 regular season games - that you wait for the playoffs?
- It is clear that I have tried to analyze why I do not have the continuity that I have had before in my game. Since it is a team sport. It affects how the team plays in front of me. Since it affects the team the way I play. It goes hand in hand. You have to help each other. I realize that I have to raise my level in some matches, but then there's that many matches, too. I still think it's fun when things go well. That is why you have to put all the work and focus to win, to play well and think it's fun to play hockey. No one enjoys when it goes below your expectations. I have a lot of will and a great love for hockey. There is nothing that has slowed down. I go to the rink every day to challenge myself and try to get better, says Henrik before jumping into the shower.
Lundqvist's private schedule is full smeared, as he puts it. Do we have time to be seen as it is after training in Tarrytown. I rent an SUV and drive on the scenic route along the waterfront of Manhattan towards the small suburb an hour's drive away. It's cold, but the sun is shining from a clear blue sky.
The car passes the now hip districts of Harlem and the Bronx, but nowhere seen Jenny from the block to.
GPS leads us to the campus of New York Medical College and we are greeted by an unassuming small hall, without the slightest sign that proclaims that exercise actually mighty New York Rangers.
Inside the hall, we, however, a lot of history.
There is a security guard on site at the reception and the pressure values are in place. Everything is painted white in the hall - and the ceiling hangs retired jerseys along with the four flags that indicate when the Rangers actually become Stanley Cup champions.
It is 23 years since Mark Messier later lifted the cup in the Garden.
Is it still fun, when the day after a victory will take the car hit Tarrytown?
- I think so! It's different. You think. There are nearly fifty minutes up and fifty minutes to get home at every practice that we have up here. It will be some time in the car to think about many things. I think it's fun to come here. Compete with the guys, I feel the same drive as I did before.
What you have time to think about the car?
- It's all possible. I make calls to people at home and to the family. Talking about what will happen in the future. It's schedule, there are matches.
- Haha, I do not know. But it gets a little me time to sit there in the car. If you sit a lot in your car you have to take advantage of that time and use it for something good. I have great people around me all the time, so we live and travel. So it's quite nice to have the time, I think. Just to wind down.
Training run goalie coach Benoit Allaire extra intensively Lundqvist. Puck after puck is dumped in the frame and Henke will start playback. That it was the night before profits do not seem to play not matter. Or that there is a new match the day after, for that matter. -
We discuss every day. We have been meeting almost every day, even. We're talking about the matches, details of the game. Have you thought about this? This can be done better. He has been very important to me, to have that support and continuity to have him for twelve years, says Henrik. Then you will have developed a good relationship. - It's done! He knows me very well. He can read how I feel by how I behave on the ice. He can make demands, we know where we are. It has been very fun to work with him all these years, so I hope it continues. That we run the whole way. All the way means in four years, for Lundqvist has a contract with Rangers until 2021. With the strong dollar has annual earnings also jumped on the rise, compared to when Henke wrote again in 2013. Lundqvist had in 2016 ten million US dollars in salary - almost 90 million Swedish crowns.
Mini Larry Brooks interview:
Inside the hall stands Larry Brooks in a green sweatshirt and a note in the warmth of the gigantic infrastructure elements hanging from the ceiling of the call exercise hall. He looks after line combinations and tweets quickly charge a change is detected.
Brooks is hockey columnist for the New York Post and has followed Lundqvist for twelve years.
- He really has not been as good as he expected to be. Or, as he usually is. He has had highlights, but there have also been plenty of bad goals. He must be better. He says it almost every day, but it's true. He must be better - if the Rangers will be a contender, said Larry decided.
Henrik Lundqvist has ever been questioned in the Rangers?
- No, he says Brooks quickly.
- He had a period at the beginning of the season 2013-2014, when it took him a long time ... I think it took until the second week of January before he had started their game. It was a season when it was Alain Vigneaults first season, there was another game system, the training camp was messed up for they were not allowed to be in the Garden. But when Henrik well-found form, he was good the rest of the season. This season it was much more irregular. When it seems that he found it, then it's a bad game. And you wonder - what is happening? It has taken a long time this season, just lots of more bad goals.
Could it be the age - that it needed a playoff to turn to?
- I do not know. But for me it does not seem that his reflexes ... I do not know why the puck enters. Often at the beginning of the games, too. He has let in goals in the first shot in six games, the second shot in two games ... so it's kind of every fourth match, he released the first or second shot. We have not seen before. Is it age? It's hard for me to say. But it was extremely rare to see him play that way.
Is Lundqvist threatened by Raanta in the playoffs?
- I do not think so! The last weeks game against Columbus exceptions, his five-six most recent starts have been good. I do not think there is any doubt about who is number one in the playoffs. It's just that the Rangers need their number one goalie play as just that, as a one. They needed him for so many years - and everyone knows that Rangers have deficiencies in defense and as a team. In so many years, Henrik Lundqvist covered over these deficiencies, but this year there are moments that he has been a part of the deficiencies. It is completely new. It has never happened before. So, we'll see ... But he has had many more good games than bad, but the bad was bad! He said the other night - that he had A-matches, but he had too many C-matches ... well, he has been with D matches - and worse ... it could not survive the Rangers. They get to the playoffs, but they can not get anywhere unless he's a top goalkeeper.
For twelve seasons, Brooks developed a special relationship with the Swede, as a professional to professional.
- He's one of those players that I respect the most. One of the most elegant, one of the most cooperative. For a great player he is so down to earth as you can get. I have a brilliant relationship with him, says Brooks.
Back to Henrik:
Lundqvist agrees with Brooks when we sit down and talk.
He must pull themselves together. Find a more even level.
- My lowest level must be higher, but there is a lot about the team and especially at home, where we have not been really good - and I have not been there and cleaned up either. It has affected me and the team. I have not been good enough. Then there will be some turbulence, but it may take. But in this town it's so, it's high standards and I put high demands on myself too ...
But the roller coaster situation has felt the above, of course.
Especially for a keeper who has long been seen as one of the finest in the world's best league.
- It has rolled on well for many years, now it has been a bit up and down this season. Sure, I've had setbacks before, too, injuries and stuff. But my game is there and it comes to picking up in all matches.
There are 28 games left to the playoffs - and Rangers, despite much better game in the end, a deal to work with.
How far do you go?
- It's really hard to say. But the playoffs would begin as it looks in the current situation, we would come across Washington in the first round. It will be a war, once it begins. But right now, with so many games left, is the focus on the war on and take as many points as possible - and get to the playoffs. There will be many good teams that miss it. It is important not to get ahead and focus on the journey there.
After training we sit inside the locker room. The procedure is the same as usual. Lundqvist takes off protection after protection with his back to reporters.
When the cap is on, then again the nod.
The American reporters are talking of course about the Super Bowl. The team gathered the night before in the family Lundqvist's new apartment in Tribeca - and got to see the New England Patriots make an unparalleled recovery from underdog 3-28.
Quarterback Tom Brady managed to throw more yards than any other in the final - and by extension the Atlanta Falcons defeated.
- We had a nice evening. As an athlete, you'll see how quickly a match can be changed. You see how momentum can shift - and I go to myself at that moment. You know how quickly everything can change. Suddenly, you should try to stop a runaway train. I've been through several times on the ice. How do you lead 3,4-0 - and suddenly the other team and you can feel how it bounces the wrong way. That is why it is so exciting to see such a match. It can see the emotions on the field, you can feel them. And even if it is football so you can learn ... It is inspiring to see someone succeed. Every time it happens. Whether it is tennis, football or hockey.
After training Lundqvist pick up the car, a Bentley. He said that day drunk. It goes in one and an hour after the workout, it's time for a board meeting with his own charity, Henrik Lundqvist Foundation.
You know, the one that, among other things donated SEK 800 000 to the expansion of the Ronald McDonald House in Gothenburg but it has most of the activities in New York.
Henrik is pressed, but places still up for pictures in the city.
He will even pre-determined time - and messar impatiently. Well, we have even a missed call.
"Are you the g? Is the place ... wait a few more minutes, then I must go. "
We rush from the salad bar on the next street.
Henrik has a mustard-colored coat and a blue silk scarf. Blue pants, blue suede shoes and a brown clock that stands out.
He looks, as usual, like plucked straight out of a catalog model.
- This season, the schedule has been extremely. It was the World Cup last autumn. I just have one or two evenings vacant - and I am not at home when ... well, his daughter will not be happy then! Charlise think that I'm away a lot, so we try to socialize the few evenings we have available. It is fortunate that there are FaceTime. Otherwise it would have been tougher.
Has she got her own mobile?
- No, she has not reached five yet! But she has the iPad. She has returned to Masha and the Bear now. But now she sees it in English - and not in Russia anymore. She has upgraded a bit, ha ha.
Do the kids speak fluent English ?
- They go to kindergarten, so they're talking probably more English than Swedish, I would think. Babysitter speaks English.
Will you move home after you retire?
- Uh ... I do not know. We talk about it sometimes, what we should do. There is nothing that feels obvious. We really enjoy being here. Summers, we will always be home to. But it is doubtful that we move home. But things change so darn fast, especially with family and stuff. Right now it feels as if we remain in the United States, responding Lundqvist.
A few days later, the Rangers have won four straight - with victories against even the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators in the Garden.
And Henrik Lundqvist, he's up in the mighty and historic 400 NHL wins.
His time is still golden.
Watch out in the playoffs.
A favorite in New York
"I like the West Village. There are many fine cafés and small restaurants. It is nice to walk around there. It's relaxing. In spring and summer, I'll bring the family there. I do not want to give away my own favorites, I keep them to myself. "