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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Martin Brodeur Thinks Henrik Lundqvist Has the Skill and Drive to Win the Stanley Cup


 Martin Brodeur was interviewed on ESPN radio and was asked about Henrik. Here's his response:

His thoughts on Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist needing to win a Stanley Cup: "I'm sure it's his plan. He's had success on the international level, winning a gold medal for his country in 2006. And I think it's a matter of time, I think he's got the skill and the drive to make It happen. A lot of things have to go right, it's not about one individual that wins the Stanley Cup, it's about the whole team. It's always going to be a struggle to try to find some great chemistry. Trust me, I've played on some great teams that never won anything and I've played on teams that weren't so good, but we gelled at the right time."

Henrik Lundqvist Paparazzi Pictures



NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: Professional ice hockey player Henrik Lundqvist walks in Tribeca on April 14, 2014 in New York City.

Henrik Lundqvist Post-Practice Video Interview


Monday, April 14, 2014

Henrik Lundqvist Admits his Contract Distracted Him This Season


By Larry Brooks

The celebrations, ceremonies and pomp and circumstance surrounding Henrik Lundqvist this season were driven by numbers, as in the all-time franchise numbers for victories (309) and shutouts (50) he achieved in knocking iconic Blueshirts Mike Richter and Ed Giacomin off their respective top rungs in the record book.
But there are other numbers for Lundqvist that come into play at this time of year, and they do not elicit images of marching bands, floats and parades. For as the King prepares for his eighth playoffs in his ninth NHL season, his tournament record is 30-37. There has been one trip to a conference final. Let’s just say that does not represent a crowning achievement.

We can stipulate this. Even at sub-.500, Lundqvist has almost always been the Rangers’ best postseason performer. There were the back-to-back shutouts in Games 6 and 7 in the first round last year against the Caps; excellence in Rounds 1 and 2 against Ottawa and Washington in 2012; outstanding work early in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
We can stipulate this as well. The Rangers’ largest perceived edge entering this opening-round series against the Flyers that will begin on Thursday at the Garden is at the top of the defense depth chart and in goal. It is kind of a given, isn’t it, that Lundqvist will outplay Steve Mason and/or Ray Emery? Isn’t it?

But then Richter was supposed to have a huge edge over Ron Hextall in 1997 and that didn’t work out quite so well.
Lundqvist is aware of his record, but he essentially dismissed it in an extended conversation with The Post on Saturday in Montreal.
“I don’t feel I have to prove I can play in the playoffs, absolutely not,” the King declared. “My last seven years in Sweden, I won four championships, two professional, two in junior. Then the [2006] Olympics.
“I think I’ve played well in the playoffs. To win in the playoffs, it’s about getting the group to be at its best at the right time. This is not tennis or golf. It is a team sport where together we have to push ourselves.
“Of course I need to play well, and I think I have done that in the playoffs. Yeah, I’ll leave it at that.”

If the Vezina was a half-season award for only 2014, Lundqvist would win it. That’s how superior he was over the final three months of the season in leading the Blueshirts to the NHL’s fourth-best record following Christmas.

Lundqvist was so good, in fact, it is hard to believe he is the same person who struggled through the first three months of the year, a period in which he was benched a couple of times as he sought to deal with myriad issues, including stalled contract talks that went into December.

“So much of my game is based on mental preparation and technical preparation, and it’s very difficult when there are distractions,” Lundqvist said. “At this level, every little thing matters. One mistake can mean a goal that loses the game.
“Early in the season there were a couple of distractions. I’m not going to lie — the contract played a part,” said Lundqvist, who signed a seven-year, $59.5 million extension on Dec. 4 after also dealing with an early-season injury that remains unidentified. “When you add everything together, it was not perfect. It was the most challenging part of my entire career.”

Lundqvist steadied himself over the Christmas break, getting eight days between starts. He worked and talked it through regularly with goaltending coach Benoit Allaire. He consulted “a mental coach,” Dr. Fred Neff, with whom he has worked for the last three years. Neff lists himself as the Rangers’ official sports psychologist on his website.
“The break gave me time for a deep breath, where I could collect my thoughts,” Lundqvist said. “Technically, I was being too aggressive. I need to be patient. When I am, I make better decisions. That makes for better games.
“I was so disappointed with the way the season started, it took time for me to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to correct everything 1, 2, 3. I realized it was a process.”
The process earned Lundqvist and the Rangers first-round home ice. If the goaltender has nothing to prove, he and the Rangers now have everything to gain.
“I am very happy and proud of the way we overcame the start as a group and also for me personally,” he said. “We finished really strong, and as a team I think we have the right mix and the right mindset for the playoffs. I like the way we are playing.”
“Of course, individuals have to perform.”
Of course, some more than others.

Henrik Lundqvist Michael Kay Show Interview 4/12/14


Click here to listen

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Henrik Lundqvist Wants Stanley Cup to Make Career Complete; Credits Sports Psychologist For Helping Him Through His Early Season Struggles



Henrik Lundqvist is the most recognizable face on the Rangers, and one of the more recognizable faces on the New York sports scene, which isn't an easy feat for a guy who wears a mask to work.

He has two Olympic medals, more wins than any Rangers goaltender ever and a team-record 50 shutouts. He signed a seven-year contract extension earlier this season that likely will mean he will end his career in New York, with his jersey hanging in the Madison Square Garden rafters soon after.

Yet, as the Rangers prepare to open the playoffs in the coming days, Lundqvist has been doing some thinking about the one thing he doesn't have.
"I just think, for me personally, the biggest goal I have left with my hockey is to win the Stanley Cup," he said. "For me, it's exciting to think about it. It's a challenge for me and for all of us here. It's why we play."

At 32, Lundqvist is playing for his legacy. In December, he signed on to be the face of the franchise for the rest of the decade, which makes each of his playoffs increasingly important. Will Lundqvist finish his career in New York as the Patrick Ewing of the Rangers, a great player who may never be truly recognized for his greatness because he never won it all? Or will he join the beloved ranks of current New York champions like Eli Manning and Derek Jeter?

The concept that a championship, or lack there of, can define a player's legacy is one with which Lundqvist sometimes struggles.
"Sometimes it surprises me a little bit when people look at championships," he said. "We're not playing tennis, we're not playing golf. It's a team sport. You need to be good but you also need to be a part of a great team. You need to have timing as well when you play a team sport. You get on a team that's on a roll, obviously goalies play a big part, but again it's not tennis or golf. It's not just you. It's about getting everything to work together at the right time and just go from there."

Still, those who know Lundqvist well say he is very conscious that if he wants to ever pull ahead of former Rangers goaltender Mike Richter, he needs to win the Stanley Cup like Richter did with the 1994 team.
"No one really remembers who the finalists were, they remember who won the cup and who their goaltender was," said Martin Biron, a former Rangers backup goalie who now works as a MSG analyst. "In this market especially, there are a lot of very successful people who support this team. They value winning the championship way on top of anything else. That's just the reality of it, and Henrik understands that and wants to win as badly as anyone else . . . I'd say it's at the top of his bucket list."

Could he have a chance this season?
With the way the Rangers are rolling into the playoffs, some have labeled them a dark horse contender in Eastern Conference, one of the handful of teams that could challenge the Boston Bruins. It seems to be coming together at the right time for the Lundqvist and the Rangers, after surviving a difficult start to the season. Forty games in, the Rangers were 19-19-2 and Lundqvist had a 2.77 goals-against average. Heading into Saturday night's game, the Rangers are 26-12-3 and Lundqvist's goals-against average has fallen to 2.36 for the season.

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said he cannot overstate the impact Lundqvist's second half of the season has had on the team.
"When you get the goaltending, it rubs off on the rest of your game, whether it's your defensive play, your penalty killing of five-on-five play," Vigneault said. "If you know that if you make a mistake, your goaltender is going to bail you out, it's easier to play. Ever since Hank found his game, we've been a better team. In the second half, we've been one of the better teams in the NHL."

Yet, it wasn't easy getting to that point. Lundqvist had flourished under former Rangers coach John Tortorella and his defensive-oriented system, winning seven straight team MVP awards. This season, there was an adjustment period when Tortorella was fired and replaced by the more offensive-minded Vigneault. His unsure contract status may also have weighed on his mind.
"It's been an interesting year, a year where you learn a lot about the team and yourself," Lundqvist said. "A lot of ups and downs. Every year is different. This year we had a new coach and a different system. It had a different feel."
Lundqvist's teammates could sense his frustration at the beginning of the season.
"He's one of the best goalies in the world, if not the best," said Rangers backup goaltender Cam Talbot. "It was really tough when Hank wasn't playing up to his own standards he still was paying well, but maybe not where he wanted to be."

Biron recently re-watched every Rangers game from the beginning of the year through January for a project he was working on. He said that when he came to mid-December, he noticed a marked change in Lundqvist.
"I watched the way he was reacting, making saves and his body language," Biron said. "Hank started the season very frustrated but then there was this big change in the middle of December. I know he changed his pads, but that could be just coincidental. I think it was a number of things but you started to see a brighter, happier Lundqvist going into the end of December."

Lundqvist said the changes were not so much physical or technical as they were mental. He credits his sports psychologist, whom he did not want to name, for helping him work through some challenges at the beginning of the season.
"The turning point was mid-December. I sat down and talked to someone and things started into place," he said. "He just asked the right questions. It was a lot about mentally how you approach things. Sometimes, you need to remind yourself what you need to do."
Lundqvist needs no reminding what he needs to do at this time of year. Over the years he has compiled 30 playoff victories, but has never won his last game of the season. Who's to say that it couldn't happen this year, one which has been like no other for Lundqvist.
"It was definitely a challenging start, but to overcome that and learn from it and get to the level I think I should be at has been good for my confidence," Lundqvist said. "In the end it's about getting in. And I'm proud and excited about our chances."

Friday, April 11, 2014

Henrik Lundqvist Post-Game Video Interview


Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves to improve to 33-24-5 on the season, including a 16-14-4 mark at home. The Rangers goaltender is 8-2-1 with a 1.89 GAA, a .935 SV%, and one shutout in his last 11 games, and has posted an 11-4-1 record with a 1.81 GAA, a .939 SV%, and two shutouts in his last 16 games. The Rangers’ all-time wins leader posted a 3-0-0 record, along with a 0.67 GAA, and a .975 SV% in three contests against the Sabres this season.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Henrik Lundqvist Post-Practice Video Interview


Henrik Lundqvist Post-Game Video Interview


Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to improve to 32-24-5 on the season, including a 15-14-4 mark at home. The Rangers goaltender is 7-2-1 with a 1.98 GAA, a .933 SV%, and one shutout in his last 10 games, and has posted a 10-4-1 record with a 1.86 GAA, a .938 SV%, and two shutouts in his last 15 games. In his last 11 contests against Carolina, the Rangers’ all-time wins leader is 9-2-0 with a 1.87 GAA and a .941 SV%.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Henrik Lundqvist Post-Game Video Interview


Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves in the contest. The Rangers goaltender is now 31-24-5 this season, including a 14-14-3 record at home. Lundqvist made at least 30 saves for the 19th time this season, including the third consecutive game, and is 13-4-2 with a 2.14 GAA, a .940 Sv%, and 2 SO when making at least 30 saves in a game this season.