LOS ANGELES. Henrik Lundqvist, 35, is back after injury - and the superstar is gearing up for another playoff game.
Many say it's now or never for the Rangers and Lundqvist.
In an exclusive interview with Sport Express Henke speak out about:
The hopes for this year's Stanley Cup.
The chance to play the Olympics next year.
Family life in Manhattan as father of two.
He comes through sweat into the small dressing room in LA Kings training arena Toyota Center in the Los Angeles suburb of El Segundo and barely has time to sit on the bench after an hour-long workout before dozens of reporters crowded around him.
Here's Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Justin Tasch from the New York Daily News and Steve Zipay, which monitors the Rangers for Newsday. There is also Joe Micheletti, television commentator for the MSG Network and the former Rangers player and team captain Dave Maloney, who works for Radio MSG.
Plus a bunch of local reporters with Lisa Dillman by nhl.com the tip.
It is everyday for Henrik Lundqvist, he is the poster child Rangers and most interviewed player and now everyone wants to know how his body reacted to the last days training. And when he's ready to start playing again after seven missed games.
Henke collapses for a moment, catches his breath and puts on the Rangers cap which is usually visible when the TV cameras are on after the games.
He puffs out and ask the PR guy to open the door to get some air circulation in the stuffy dressing room, where several teammates crowded with media call-up around him.
Then he hides his face in his hands for a few seconds, exhale and look out over us and nod "OK, here we go."
When he answered all the questions on the form, its focus for the series spurt and the upcoming playoffs, he's ready to talk about some other things with the Sport Express.
And my first question is his thoughts on this edition of the Rangers, the team is just as powerful as the gang that reached the Stanley Cup final against the LA Kings in 2014?
- We have a lot to work with. But I think the pieces are there, you just have to get it together. That we click together and get back the momentum we had over the game in the autumn. And do not think too much. Then we must bring order to the home game.
- It looks pretty smooth and feels quite open in our half of the league. We will not go in as favorites, if I say so, but it is clear that we believe it can go along way.
You need to take you past some top teams to reach a possible final?
- Yes, Montreal has seen good after practicing prey and Pittsburgh and Washington are strong teams. It will be interesting.
They are those who believe that this residence for yourself just right for the upcoming playoffs?
- Hard to say, but some ... in the long run, maybe. If everything is correct and we can record to the end of May or beginning of June, I think it can pay off. But we're talking about the next month, I do not think it matters.
- The goal is of course to go all the way, but I myself had been allowed to choose I'd have liked to play now. But do not those who sit on the sidelines. It is as it is and then you have to try to make the best of it. I rested during the first week and drove much rehabilitation and now I have been more on the ice during the last five-six days.
What does the family when suddenly you are at home a week?
- Yes, the eldest daughter (Charlise) is very happy when she sees me so often, she's not used to it. Now I tried to warn her that it's back to normal again.
Your wife is ready to pull the wagon and take care of the kids again?
- Haha, yes, she is used when it starts to contract to the playoffs and I feel more pressure and end up in my bubble and not with the same number of times when the family does things. It will slowly creeping when trying to get back after this kind of injury.
Is the NHL life is still as fun?
- I think so. You notice now when away that there is something missing in one's life with the press, and the adrenaline that you get in connection with the games, which is a big part of your life. You notice it when you do not have it. I also like to travel and now when we are out on the west coast here, this trip we have only once a year. It's fun to do these trips, the same thing when we go out to western Canada. After twelve years, it feels a bit like a change of scenery.
If we look ahead, are you interested in playing the Olympics in South Korea next year?
- Yes, I would love like to go. But then one should be picked as well, there are many Swedish guys who are playing well now in the league. Olympics is such a huge opportunity for hockey, not only in the NHL, to grow. I think we have to take that opportunity. But there is much to sue for the league to get it together with travel, insurance, and risk of injury and everything mentioned. But if you see the big picture and you want more boys and girls playing hockey, so it is a good opportunity to promote the sport.
Would you be prepared to make a Ovechkin and go anyway, even if the NHL does not close the league and participate?
- I have not thought along those lines. It has not been discussed very much in Swedish hockey and among us Swedish players with respect thereto. It's more that you would like to go if you get the opportunity. Since I do not know how they would react if faced with that option. I do not even know how the rules are and what will happen if one were to go anyway. It is something you must consider when when it comes.
How different is your life now as a father of two?
- It is clear that it has other priorities now than when we had children. Much focus around the kids, how they feel and what they do. I'm still trying to do the things I did before, that I like to do with music and everything like that. But you notice that not enough time in the same way as it did before, but it is so that the extra time has now alongside hockey goes to the family and children. You realize how much you are gone now when one has children they remind quite often when you are away. You did not think of it the same way when you did not have children.
You will remain in Manhattan, no thoughts of buying a house and move out to the countryside in Westchester north of New York City?
- No, we just moved about a year ago downtown, so we really enjoy working in town and stays there.
Have you left your restaurant, Tiny's & The Bar Upstairs on West Broadway?
- Yes I have. It is left.
Height: 185 cm.
Weight: 85 kg.
Family: Wife Therese, daughters Charlise, 4, and Juli; 2.
Drafted: As No. 205 in the seventh round of the NY Rangers 2000.
Lives: Apartment in downtown Manhattan in New York.
Serves: $ 9.5 million, approximately 83.6 million crowns.
Seasons in the NHL: 12th
Statistics: 736 games, 404 wins.
Merits: Olympic gold in 2006, Olympic silver 2014 World Championship silver in 2003, in 2004.
National Championships: With Frolunda 2003, 2005.
NHL awards: Vezina Trophy in 2012.
All-Star Games: 2009, 2011, 2012.
NHL First All-Star Team: 2012.