Talk about the ultimate male-bonding moment between two professional hockey players.
Former Rangers winger Sean Avery says that when it comes to pressure situations, there was nothing quite like the conversation he had with then teammate Henrik Lundqvist prior to a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
“There were many conversations where the two of us would talk about him being a father. There was fear attached to that like I think there is with many men," says Avery with a laugh. "I don't know if this is too much information, but the question becomes when to have the baby. With sports, the schedule is a big thing.
"It's an interesting conversation for two 30-year-old men to be having in Carolina the night before a game over dinner — when Hank should try to plan his fatherhood."
Avery says fatherhood has been nothing but a good thing for the 31-year-old Lundqvist, a new chapter that balances the goalie's uber intense nature.
"Henrik's ability to focus is probably better than anybody I've ever seen," says Avery, who co-owns Tribeca restaurant and bar, Tiny's, with Lundqvist and calls the goalie one of his closest friends. "He has something that you can't really explain. It's not a level that a lot of people can identify with. It's actually unbelievable that somebody can be this focused. The tougher the game, the better he plays."
When Avery does visit with Lundqvist, they never talk hockey, as Avery updates him on business matters — besides the restaurant, both men are invested in social media venture called Twtmob (tweet mob).
"Henrik's also an entrepreneur. He's obviously involved in a restaurant with me, and he has probably more endorsements than a lot of hockey players," says Avery. "He's started becoming interested in investing in different companies and understanding them. Not only did he just write a check (for twtmob), like most athletes do, he started to learn and understand what the company actually did."
But Avery knows that Lundqvist has a lot of hockey still left in him, too, and hopes that a Stanley Cup title is in his friend's future.
"I'm definitely happy for him and he's been a close friend for a long time," says Avery. "I want to see him win, too. I don't think that he's going to be satisfied unless he gets a championship, no matter how many Vezinas he wins or how many times they chant his name at the Garden.
"They call him ‘The King,’ and it's extremely fitting. Other than the fact that he hasn't won a championship, I'd say he's definitely the best goalie I've ever seen."
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