New York Rangers face toughest test to date as Washington comes to town

New York Rangers

With respect to the other teams that the New York Rangers have faced so far this season, the biggest challenge is coming to town on Thursday night in the form of the Washington Capitals.

Heading into Wednesday night, the Capitals were currently tied for first place in the revamped East Division. Their 5-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Monday was their first in regulation through 10 games and was actually a game they should have won as they blew a three-goal lead for the second straight game.

The Capitals have had some struggles to work through as well, as they had a coronavirus controversy that cost them their captain and a top player in Alexander Ovechkin for four games, along with a $100,000 fine. Their No. 1 goaltender, Ilya Samsonov, and top center in Evgeny Kuznetsov are still in covid-19 protocols with uncertain returns. They have a career right-wing playing center.

In spite of this, the loss against Boston was the first in regulation this season.

As some of in Blueshirt nation are somewhat puzzled by the NHL not naming K’Andre Miller as the Rookie of the Month for January, the winner of that award will probably be in net for the Capitals on Thursday night.

Washington goaltender Vitek Vanecek was recently named the NHL’s rookie of the month. Vanecek went all of January without a regulation loss, going 5-0-2 with a .918 save percentage. But most importantly, he’s been there for the Capitals when they’ve needed him the most as Samsonov sits in the COVID protocol. He also became the 11th goaltender in NHL history to begin his career with a point streak of at least seven games and was the first to accomplish the feat since Mike Condon in 2015.

As highly-touted as Samsonov is, he’s still a young goaltender playing in the best league in the world and the assumption in the off-season was that former Ranger Henrik Lundqvist would be a safety blanket and mentor for Samsonov.

As most already know, that did not happen as Lundqvist had to sit out the season due to a health concern.

The Rangers have their work cut out for them but will get a quick test of whether or not they are ready to consistently compete with the best in the division.

The puck drop is set for 7 P.M. and the game will be telecast on MSG.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zibanejad to miss the start of the New York Rangers training camp

New York Rangers, Mika Zibanejad

The day before the New York Rangers will start training camp, General Manager Jeff Gorton and President John Davidson addressed the media to bring everyone up to date on the current status of the Blueshirts.

Among the information that was shared, Gorton revealed that all of the training camp participants are in New York, but it was also mentioned that Mika Zibanejad will not practice when the Rangers begin their on-ice sessions Monday and is day-to-day. Gorton also said forward Justin Richards and goalie Keith Kinkaid will also not be available Monday and are day-to-day.

Zibanejad led the Rangers with 41 goals last season, an NHL-career-high, and scored 75 points in 57 games to help New York advance to the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. He was second on the team in points behind forward Artemi Panarin.

Gorton also announced that Vitali Kravtsov will finish the KHL season in Russia. He mentioned that the Rangers have been impressed with how he’s playing and want him to continue on that path, with a plan to bring him back to the U.S. when the KHL season ends.

One of the situations that both Gorton and Davidson addressed is the temporary division that the Rangers will be playing in this season. Davidson referred to it as “a great division, a very tough division” and that playing in that division “will be a great experience for our players.”

Gorton was also asked about the possibility of K’Andre Miller making the team and stated that he believes that Miller has a great chance to make the team, and has been impressed with Miller’s commitment in the off-season to improve his skills. Gorton also mentioned that “they are excited to see him here with NHL players.”

Another interesting topic that brought up to Davidson was the news concerning Henrik Lundqvist’s heart condition, and what the Rangers knew about his heart during his days in New York. Davidson replied that he and the Rangers organization was “shocked” when he heard the news and that the organization will help him in any way they can, because “Hank is a Ranger, and will always be a Ranger.”

 

 

 

 

Former New York Ranger Henrik Lundqvist to have open-heart surgery

Former New York Rangers great Henrik Lundqvist will have open heart surgery to help correct a heart condition, the goaltender announced on his Twitter account Monday.

 

 

“Last 3 weeks my focus has shifted from training camp and the upcoming season to my health and what I can and can’t do,” Lundqvist writes. “Scheduled for an open heart surgery now — aortic valve replacement, aortic root and ascending aortic replacement, to be more exact. We all have our mountains to climb. Staying positive here and set on the road to recovery.”

Lundqvist, 38, had spent the last 15 seasons with the Rangers, who bought out the final year of his contract at the end of last season. A free agent, Lundqvist signed a one-year deal with the Washington Capitals in October before announcing earlier this month he would be unable to play this season, which begins Jan. 13.

Lundqvist left the Rangers with his name all over top-10 lists in NHL history. He’s sixth in wins (459), seventh in saves (23,509), eighth in games by a goalie (887) and ninth in time on ice (51,816 minutes and 19 seconds). He also ranks 16th in shutouts with 64.

The Blueshirts selected the native of Sweden in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Draft, and he took over in goal for the Rangers in the 2005-06 season.

Lundqvist, the 2012 Vezina trophy winner, has appeared in more than 1,000 career games, including playoffs. He has a career 2.43 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in the regular season and a 2.30 GAA and .921 mark in the postseason.

Lundqvist did not offer a timetable as to when the procedure would take place.

 

Former New York Ranger great Henrik Lundqvist to sit out 2020-21 season

Henrik Lundqvist, who played for the New York Rangers for 15 years before joining the Washington Capitals, has announced that he will sit out the upcoming season due to a heart condition.

He posted the news on social media Thursday.

“It breaks my heart (literally) to share this news: I will not be joining the Capitals this upcoming season,” he said. “After many weeks of tests and conversations with specialists around the country, it’s been determined that a heart condition will prevent me from taking the ice. Together, we have decided that the risk of playing before remedying my condition is too high. So I will spend the coming months figuring out the best course of action.”

He went on to say that he was “inspired by the opportunity to play in DC and committed to my game, spending every day at the rink to prepare for the upcoming season.”

This offseason, Lundqvist agreed to a one-year deal with the Capitals worth $1.5 million after his 15-year run with the Rangers. He became an unrestricted free agent in a crowded field of goaltenders.

Before winning the Vezina Trophy in 2012, he was nominated in each of his first three seasons and is the only goaltender in NHL history to record 11 30-win seasons in his first 12 seasons. He holds the record for most wins by a European-born goaltender in the NHL.

 

 

 

 

Lundqvist will return to the New York Rangers after his playing career is over

One of the most popular players in New York Rangers history has indicated that he will return to the organization once his playing career is over. Henrik Lundqvist shared this information with the Swedish newspaper Expression and stated that he be part of the organization in some capacity.

Lundqvist told the paper that “This is a chapter when I go and test this. But I will be a part of Rangers for the rest of my life. One way or another. Both I and they have been clear about that. That’s the way it’s going to be.”

While it is not exactly known what role he would take, Lundqvist did tell the paper that it will be some kind of leadership role that the Rangers select.

“Then I don’t know if the role will be small or if there will be anything more. It’s further ahead. It’s again timing. It’s not here and now – but I feel like I’m somehow going to be “connected” to Rangers forever after so many years and all the people I’ve come to know in the club, from owners and down,”

Lundqvist has a long and significant role with organizations and charities in the New York metro area.

In 2009, Lundqvist became the Rangers spokesman for the Garden of Dreams Foundation, which works mostly with Madison Square Garden and its tenants to host charitable events and grant wishes to sick children, similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In order to benefit the charity, Lundqvist launched a clothing line, called the Crown Collection in 2012. The items of the Crown Collection had been available exclusively at retail outlets within the confines of Madison Square Garden.

In 2014, Lundqvist and his wife Therese founded the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation a non-profit organization with a focus on health and education for children and families. HLF is an international grantmaking organization, with community partners in New York City, Sweden, and the Dominican Republic.

Even after he joined the Washington Capitals, Lundqvist made his feelings about being a Blueshirt well known.

“I will always appreciate my years in New York. Rangers will always be a part of me, for the rest of my life. I feel a lot of pride in it.”

 

 

 

Former New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist is not ready to hang up skates

Former New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist has said little since the announcement of the team’s buyout of the final year of his contract last week.

On Sunday night Henrik Tweeted out a 16-word statement that indicates the direction he may be leaning towards regarding his playing future.

I still love to compete. I still love the game and I still want to WIN!

Lundqvist has the advantage now in finding a team that may be in need of his services.  With the buyout now complete and official Henrik is an unrestricted free agent meaning he can sign with any team that is willing to add him to their roster.

The 15-year veteran with 459 NHL wins would be able to add stability at the goalie position on many teams. Goaltenders are at a large abundance currently, but few have had the success as Lundqvist had with the Rangers. His buyout entitled him to get paid $5.5 million for the upcoming season and $1.5 million for the following season from the Blueshirts.

The NHL rumor mill has been in overdrive ever since the Rangers officially announced the buyout of Hank’s contract. Though nothing official has been announced Henrik has been rumored to be headed towards the Vegas Golden Knights, the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks, or the Washington Capitals.

Of course, rumors are really just something to talk about and write about until something substantial is actually announced by the player or a team.

For now, the only indication that Henrik actually wants to continue to lay is the Tweet he made on Sunday night,.  It appears Henrik still has the fire in his belly to make one more run at a Stanley Cup.

As it was said in the movie The Godfather,

I wish to congratulate you on your new business, and I know you’ll do very well; and good luck to you — as best’s as your interests don’t conflict with mine. Thank you.”

Rangers fans wish Hank success and would hope to see him hoist a Stanley Cup as long as hi opportunity doesn’t interfere with the Blueshirts chance to win a Stanley Cup Championship as well.

 

Who will be the next king of hockey in New York?

Yesterday marked the end of an era.

Henrik Lundqvist, the goalie for the New York Rangers for the last 15 years and a surefire Hall of Famer, was bought out by the organization with one year left on his seven-year, $59-million contract he signed in 2014.

The decision to buyout the 38-year-old was almost written on the wall ever since the arrival of Igor Shesterkin — the organization’s highly-touted Russian goalie — towards the middle of the season, and the rise of 24-year-old Alexander Georgiev the past two seasons. Still, it was a painful day not just for Rangers fans, but for all hockey fans in the metropolitan area who watched Lundqvist’s reign to becoming one of the greatest goalies ever.

Lundqvist truly was a King. And New York was his kingdom, especially from the hockey portion of the sports landscape in the area. He was the best player — other than the short stint of Jaromir Jagr — at his position of any of the three Metro teams from the moment he made his debut.

But that time has come to an end. A new king shall arise.

The question now is, who will be the next to take the throne? There’s plenty of worthy candidates who all have a case.

Igor Shesterkin

The youngster who was being groomed to be the heir-apparent to Lundqvist. He’s now the Blueshirts’ starting goaltender and will be for the foreseeable future. Shesterkin showed the fans and his teammates all the hype was real about him — and that he could very well be a dominant force moving forward — when he went 10–2-0 in his 12 starts before the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the hockey season.

The future looks bright for Shesterkin and the Rangers. And he has all the capabilities of being the ruler of the sport in this town if all things play out.

Ilya Sorokin

Shesterkin isn’t the only new name on the scene that might help lead to New York’s next great era of hockey. His Russian counterpart, Ilya Sorokin, is now officially with the Islanders, and he is positioned to be the franchise goaltender on Long Island for hopefully the next decade.

The 25-year-old Sorokin was a king in his own right back in his native homeland and oozes winning and star power. He could very much take this market by storm with those traits and if he’s backstopping the Isles back to the glory days they once had back in the early 80s.

Artemi Panarin

Panarin has only called New York home for one year, but it’s already proven that he’s become one of the best athletes in any of the four major sports. We know he was already a household name before he arrived last summer, now though, the 28-year-old has a strong chance of being the next one to take the thrown around here. The guy is a superstar — he was a Hart Trophy candidate this past season — and he’s got that infectious personality which makes him a joy to watch play (the Rockette goal celebration is also very Broadway).

Panarin is going to be here for a while, another six years to be exact. In that time, the Rangers have the makings of being a powerhouse and he as the face of it all.

Mathew Barzal

As the Islanders continue to build toward a perennial winner, it’s Barzal who has become the face of the franchise and who the entire league recognizes when the franchise is mentioned.

Only 23, Barzal has already accomplished some great things in his career, including a Calder Trophy back in 2017-18. And he’s not even close to being the star everyone knows he’s capable of being. Beyond that, Barzal — most likely being an Islander for the next decade and more — has the off the ice qualifications too.

He’s got his own style. His flow has made him an internet sensation. And he’s got the look of someone who you’d put on a billboard.

All of that resonates around these parts.

Jack Hughes

Look everyone can discredit New Jersey as not being a part of the NY hockey landscape, but they still are very much a part of the fabric and its history. That’s why Jack Hughes gets a nod on this list.

The number one pick overall in 2019, Hughes is just at the beginning of his career. He was a superstar during his time at the U.S. National Development Program, and the hope is it will be the same for his time over the next number of years with the Devils. The franchise is leaning on him to bring back those years of consistent winning and championships.

Hughes is just 19, so he’s still raw. But he could very much own this town if he can help turn the Devs around and live up to his top pick status.

Kaapo Kakko

The kid picked right after Hughes at last summer’s draft, Kaapo Kakko is also just starting what hopes to be an excellent career on Broadway. Kakko definitely showed his warts as a freshman this past year, but the greatness which made him a top-2 pick flashed on a number of occasions. Being from Finland, he’s another European export who is expected to be one of the major pieces to the puzzle for the Rangers.

Kakko said when he first landed in New York, “it’s a nice city”. Well, the city has the chance to be his very much down the road.

Nico Hischier

Hischier, who also plays on the Jersey side of the Hudson, has quietly become one of the best players in the area. Another former top overall pick, he’s trying to bring the Devils back to respectability; and he has in some ways. He also is only getting better.

Just 21, he might be the best player in the area down the line.

Mika Zibanejad

The Blueshirts are loaded for the future as said above. Zibanejad is on that list. He’s become one of the synonymous names on Broadway and had the best season of his career in 2019-20.

Zibanejad is also the kind of star who can shine big in the city.

The guy is a DJ in his own right and has released his own music. That’s a total win-win if you’re looking for the next guy to be the face of the sport in the city. Add in winning, and Zibanejad is a sneaky contender for the crown.

Alexis LaFreniere

The soon-to-be number one pick, next Tuesday to be exact. LaFreniere has been compared to some of the greats playing in the game right now, and he will have the Worlds Most Famous Arena — Madison Square Garden — as his playground. The 18-year-old phenom has already expressed his love for the city and the chance to play with another star at the top of this list, Panarin.

He’s going to get his chance. Aside from that, he’s got all the hype of being Broadway’s next big hit, pardon the pun.

That itself could make him the next in line to wear the crown.

Who do you think will be the next king of hockey in New York?

Rangers turn to the next chapter with Igor Shesterkin leading the team onto the ice

Wednesday was a tough emotional day for the New York Rangers, their fans, and of course Henrik Lundqvist. Now that the dust has settled the first player emerging from the windstorm of the buyout is Igor Shesterkin.

Last February head coach David Quinn named Shesterkin the team’s number one goalie, which was the first step in the process that resulted in the buyout of Lundqvist. The 24-year-old goalie, who will turn 25 in December, performed admirably in his 12 starts posting a 10-2 record while having one of the best Ranger players to ever wear the sweater on the bench with him.

Come opening night when Shesterkin looks over at the team’s bench he will see Alexandar Georgiev backing him up. The dreams of SHesterkin’s childhood will become a reality the moment he leads the team onto the ice for that first game of the 2020-2021 season;

The team is in his hands now.

Pressure All On Him

Shesterkin has been a winner at every level he has played. He plays with a calmness that is uncanny for a player with 12 games under his belt. A level of confidence regardless of a goal scored against him or the score of a game spreads to his teammates.  He has a weapon the defense will come to appreciate and expect over time, he can handle the puck on his goalie stick.

He can pass from the far corners of the ice, can clear the puck from behind his net on a dump and chase plays, the Russian netminder can and will shoot at an empty net. Shesterkin can be a third defenseman on the ice if a player needs to pass a puck back into their own end when the opportunity calls for it.

With all of the skill he has shown, there is one thing he will need to experience on the ice, game by game. The Madison Square Garden Ranger fans. The true judgment of how he handles pressure will be the first time a bad play is recorded on the ice.

The constant question by the New York media is another area Shesterkin has little experience in. The never-ending questioning and second-guessing is something he has never been through. It’s not as important as his play during a game, yet it has frazzled the best of players in years past so he will need to learn what to say and not say.

Up For The Challenge

Shesterkin has been a winner at every level he has competed in.  In his five seasons in the KHL, he had a record of 79-14-13. His best season there 2016-’17 where he won 27 games, had a 1.67 goals-against average and a .9.37 save percentage.

His success carried over to North America this past season when he played for the team’s minor league affiliate the Hartford Wolf Pack. In 25 games he posted 17 wins and a .934 save percentage.  The man is a proven winner, though a final decision on how good he can be will be determined once he p0lays a full season in the NHL.

The baton has been handed over from Lundqvist to Shesterkin now. He will have one of the best teams in recent years playing in front of him which will include the number one overall pick in this year’s draft ( presumably Alexis Lafreniere) when the start of 2020-2021 begins.

Solid defense in front of him along with some of the best scorers and playmakers in the league should make his game a little easier, something Lundqvist had rarely in his 15 years.

The new number one goalie in New York will leave up to the hype. He has all the skills and weapons to be a game-changer, a goalie who can handle the pressure of the opposing team, the pressure of the fan base, and the pressure he puts on himself to be the winner Rangerstown needs him to be.

It going to be strange to hear the announcer on game day introduce “Igor Shesterkin” as the netminder starting in goal most nights.

Shesterkin has earned the right to lead the Blueshirts onto the ice on game day. Like the goalies who have preceded him, he will be the one to stand tall and carry the Rangers back to the playoffs and hopefully to the Stankey Cup Finals.

Henrik Lundqvist: His 30 greatest saves as a New York Ranger (Video)

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

As Lundqvist’s legendary reign with the New York Rangers comes to an end, ESM looks back as his finest metropolitan moments.

Accounting for his regular season, shootout, and postseason stops, Henrik Lundqvist made 27,482 saves as a member of the New York Rangers.

ESM looks back on the 30 best from No. 30…

10/8/05: The Reign Begins

Little hype surrounded Lundqvist’s debut, as the seventh-round pick was giving veteran starter Kevin Weekes a rest during an early visit to East Rutherford to battle the New Jersey Devils. Things almost ended before they even truly began, as Lundqvist allowed the Devils’ only first period shot, this one from Alexander Molgilny, to go in. But He held his own over the final two frames, stopping 24 of 26 shots over the next two periods and overtime. His first save was a stop of Viktor Kozlov in the early stages of the second period. Lundqvist and the Rangers fell 3-2, but he helped turn the tide in the New York-New Jersey rivalry. His final ledger in New York against the Devils was 38-18-8 in the regular season, his best win tally against any single opponent.

11/26/05: Alley-No

One of the earliest starts of Lundqvist’s career was the famous 15-round shootout against the Washington Capitals. Marek Malik’s clinching goal remains the endearing image, but Lundqvist got things off to a strong start by making a stop on a fellow rookie…Alex Ovechkin.

12/29/06: Motion Denied

Ten months after collaborating on a Swedish gold medal at the Torino Olympics, Lundqvist and Daniel Alfredsson reunited for a show stopping sequence in Ottawa, albeit to the detriment of Alfredsson’s Senators. Lundqvist denied his fellow countryman and future Eastern Conference champion twice in a shorthanded opportunity.

10/20/07: Oh, Denied, Marc

Around the same time Kevin Garnett started issuing rejections at TD Banknorth Garden, Lundqvist started to make some big ones of his own against the Boston Bruins. The Rangers fell in a 1-0 shootout, but Lundqvist at least made sure it got to overtime with this glove save on Marc Savard.

4/9/09: Talk About Playoffs

Engaged in a wild battle for the final Eastern playoff spots, the Rangers held a 2-1 lead on their rivals from Philadelphia, who were looking to do anything to awaken the Rangers from their postseason dreams. Sustained by first period goals from Ryan Callahan and Markus Naslund, Lundqvist took care of the rest with a wild save on future teammate Dan Carcillo in the third period. With no further incidents, the Rangers clinch their fourth consecutive playoff berth with the win.

2/6/10: Unlike Mike

One of Lundqvist’s most underrated stretches is perhaps the end of the 2009-10 season. It was the only time the Rangers missed the playoffs in his so-called “prime”, that the Rangers missed the playoffs, but Lundqvist made it sure it took all 82 games to dispose of them. Forced to make all but one start over the final 26 games, the stretch featured a shutout streak of over two full games against the New Jersey Devils, headlined by a rebound denial on Mike Mottau in a 3-1 win at Madison Square Garden.

11/15/11: Soccer-Style

MSG Network perhaps loved Lundqvist’s propensity for indirect cross-promotion of their New York Red Bulls coverage. Lundqvist made several header saves throughout his time in the tri-state area, one of the earliest instances being a matchup against the New York Islanders. A 31-save night in a 4-2 win in Uniondale was headlined by a penalty kill sequence in the second period, in which he stopped a Mark Streit shot with his head, before getting knocked down by a teammate. Lundqvist nonetheless stopped a follow-up chance by P.A. Parenteau before covering up.

12/31/11: Florida Man Steals Defenseman’s Stick

Lundqvist never got to score a goal in New York, but he did get to handle a skater’s stick in securing a penalty kill during a New Year’s Eve visit to Florida. In the chaos of the Panthers’ rush, Lundqvist lost his stick but got a souvenir from his trip to the Sunshine State from Michael Del Zotto, who handed his own over. Lundqvist managed to deflect a shot from Walt Garrison away to preserve a 4-1 lead.

1/2/12: Citizens Hank Park

Citizens Bank Park, home of MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies, played host to a different brand of saves when the Rangers did battle with the Flyers in the 2012 Winter Classic. No bullpen was necessary for Lundqvist to make the biggest one of the afternoon, coming with 20 seconds to go and the Rangers nursing a 3-2 lead. Awarded a penalty shot after Ryan McDonagh covered the puck in the crease during a Philadelphia rush, Danny Briere tried to send things to extra innings, but Lundqvist slammed the door shut. Lundqvist went undefeated in four outdoor games, winning the latter trio in New York’s respective professional baseball parks (two at Yankee Stadium, one at Citi Field).

2/1/12: Oh Boyes!

Olympic heroes Lundqvist (Sweden) and Ryan Miller (United States) staged an epic battle at First Niagara Center just over two years after the Vancouver Winter Games. 65 minutes, 63 saves, and no goals later, the tilt moved to a shootout, where Lundqvist made a strong diving stop to kick off a 10-round ordeal eventually won by Callahan.

1/19/13: Boston Stewin’

The start of the 2012-13 NHL season was delayed due to a lockout, but Lundqvist showed little rust in the Rangers opener in Boston. New York fell by a 3-1 final, though Lundqvist did his part with 31 saves, including a jaw-dropping glove robbery of David Krejci during a Rangers penalty kill.

5/12/13: Capital Robbery

One could perhaps made a list of Lundqvist’s best saved solely against the Capitals and still come up with 30 videos. One of the most memorable was a frantic final sequence in Game 6 of the 2013 conference quarterfinals. With the Rangers clinging to a 1-0 lead, Lundqvist forced a decisive final matchup with a flurry of saves to secure the win. Another shutout awaited him back in Washington, as the Rangers secured the series with a 5-0 finale.

5/19/13: Baba Jagr

Lundqvist will be forever linked with Jaromir Jagr. The two will forever be seen as two of the best European players in hockey history and played huge roles in the rebirth of New York hockey during the earliest years of the post-lockout era. Lundqvist gave his fellow energizer and former roommate a thank you gift during the 2013 postseason, stopping Jagr, then a Boston Bruin, on an exquisite blocker save during the conference semifinals.

3/14/14: Unscheduled Landing

There’s playing out of position, and then there’s what Lundqvist did in a March visit to MTS Centre. When a turnover on a Rangers power play allowed two Winnipeg Jets to skate unguarded into the zone, Lundqvist moved up and denied them the opportunity, allowing his teammates to move the puck out of harm’s away. That same night, Lundqvist earned the 301st win of his career, tying Mike Richter atop the Rangers’ victory list.

5/13/14: Pittsburgh Stealer

Two years before the Cavaliers and Warriors made it cool in the NBA, Lundqvist was making 3-1 the most dangerous lead in hockey. The Rangers fell behind to the Pittsburgh Penguins by that margin in their 2014 Eastern Conference semifinal matchup, but Lundqvist allowed only three goals over the final three games to secure the series. His magnum opus was a flurry saves made with just over five minutes left in Game 7, even briefly using skater teammate Brian Boyle’s stick to withstand a late Pittsburgh rush. The Rangers took the game by 2-1 final, primarily thanks to Lundqvist’s 35 stops.

5/29/14: Sacre Bleu-shirt!

When Game 6 of the 2014 Eastern Conference Final rolled around, the Rangers owned a 3-2 series lead over the Montreal Canadiens. But after Montreal chased Lundqvist in a 7-4 defeat in Game 5 at Bell Centre, many predicted that the winner of the penultimate match at MSG would take the series, especially if it had to return to Quebec. Lundqvist needed only 18 saves that night, but a crucial, acrobatic stop on Thomas Vanek in the latter stages of the second period permanently shifted momentum to the Rangers’ side. Just over three minutes later, Dominic Moore scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory that propelled the Rangers to their first Stanley Cup visit since 1994.

6/11/14: Snow Problem

Lundqvist was hardly to blame for the Rangers’ coming short in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. In the Rangers lone win in Game 4, Lundqvist stopped all but one of 41 Los Angeles shots, including all 15 in the third period (the Rangers mustered only one shot in the final frame). He had some help on the most memorable, as a patch of snowy buildup helped stopped the puck’s progress in the penultimate minute. Taking away a tough Game 3, Lundqvist stopped 167 of 179 attempts from the Kings (.933 save percentage).

1/31/15: Down, But Not Out

The star-crossed nature of Lundqvist’s Rangers career was perhaps best on display during a 2015 showdown against Carolina. An errant stuck from Ryan McDonagh left Lundqvist’s neck exposed on a hard shot attempt, downing the Rangers goalie for several minutes. While the services of Cam Talbot were required in the weeks that followed, Lundqvist remained in the game to tally 31 saves in a 4-1 triumph.

10/10/15: Henrik Takes a Dive

One can only imagine just how much more could’ve fit onto Lundqvist’s already impressive resume if not for a few more blue bounces of the puck. Fate, alas, had other plans, but Lundqvist was at least able to stop one of them in an early-season matchup against Columbus. With the puck taking an eccentric bounce right to the stick of Ryan Johansen while Lundqvist tried to play it behind the net, a timely dive preserved a Rangers lead and denied the Blue Jackets a wide-open opportunity. It was part of a 37-save night in a 5-2 New York triumph.

10/23/15: King Stops the Duke

The common trope amongst Rangers fans is that former Blueshirts always seem to score when they come back to MSG in enemy colors. Lundqvist made sure that one took a temporary leave with a diving stop on Anthony Duclair, one of the final touches of a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

11/21/15: Florida Man Takes a Puck To The…

Another painful save in Lundqvist’s career came during a November 2015 penalty kill against the Florida Panthers, when he took a Nick Bjugstad shot to the groin in the second period. Lundqvist was examined by trainers but stayed in the game to secure a 5-4 overtime win.

1/11/16: The Scorpion King

Lundqvist’s scorpion kick save on Maxime Talbot preserved a tie game in the third period against Boston at MSG. It came big in the latter stages of the game, as Jesper Fast scored in the penultimate minute to secure a 2-1 win.

4/22/17: Hab We Done This Before?

Fellow New York sports legend Yogi Berra would say that Lundqvist experienced deja vu all over against during the 2017 playoffs. The Rangers were clinging to a 3-2 series over the Canadiens. Though this bout came in the conference quarterfinals, the Rangers were on pace to wrap the series up at MSG in Game 6. Montreal made a monstrous final effort, but Lundqvist’s pad save on Tomas Plekanec gave the Rangers the confidence they needed to once again eliminate their Original Six rivals up north. Derek Stepan’s empty-netter gave them a 3-1 win, good for Lundqvist’s most recent playoff series win.

5/9/17: Vetoed

The Rangers’ loss to the Ottawa Senators in the 2017 conference semifinals remains one of the more baffling and frustrating defeats in recent memory, but Lundqvist at least managed to make a showstopping highlight before all was said and done. As if proving goaltending was easy he could do it sitting down, he made a big stop on fellow Swede Erik Karlsson in the early stages of Game 6 while in a seated position. Alas for Lundqvist, the save was part of what became his final playoff game at MSG.

3/2/18: Nifty 50…on His 36th

A trek to Alberta proved historic in several ways for Lundqvist. He celebrated his 36th birthday and earned 50 saves in a regulation win, posting half-a-hundred stops for the second consecutive game. The most crucial denial came in the early stages of the second period, turning away Mikael Backlund shortly before Pavel Buchnevich permanently gave the Rangers the lead.

1/26/19: Going Streaking

Though the more recent seasons featured little in terms of postseason success, Lundqvist made one more splash in the national level at the 2019 NHL All-Star Skills Competition in San Jose. In a 12-save performance, Lundqvist earned the title in the Save Streak competition, securing the title with a stop on Auston Matthews. Lundqvist would later made 13 saves on 15 attempts in the All-Star competition, including a six-stop shutout in the victorious final for the Metropolitan Division.

2/2/19: The King’s the Captain Now

The reigning Stanley Cup champions were constantly a thorn in Lundqvist’s side, though he did muster a 15-11-5 record against the Bolts. Tampa Bay and New York did a lot of business together in their respective quests for the Cup, so Lundqvist came face-to-face with a lot of former teammates over the years, ones that helped him kickstart the Rangers’ rise to power. During one memorable reunion at MSG, Lundqvist stopped former captain Callahan on a breakaway in the third period of an eventual 3-2 loss.

3/27/19: Boston Red Stops

The latter stages of Lundqvist’s career forced him to deal with the Rangers’ latest rebuild, one that forced the aging goaltender to deal with lapses from a blueline trying to find itself. Though he didn’t match the numbers of his prime, Lundqvist did manage to provide some vintage moments, including this denial of Chris Wagner in a 2019 visit to Boston.

11/27/19: Rock You Like a Hurricane

The Rangers’ 2020 playoff cameo perhaps allowed the Carolina Hurricanes to dispatch some long-awaited revenge toward Lundqvist, who earned 33 wins against the artists formerly known as the Hartford Whalers in his career (3rd-best tally, behind only New Jersey and Philadelphia). He did manage to quell the storm one last time in November, when he made a whopping 45 saves, including this robbery of Martin Necas, in a 4-2 win.

2/1/20: One Last Ride in the Motor City

Fate denied Lundqvist a Derek Jeter-like farewell moment at MSG. The closest things Rangers fans will get likely came in February in Detroit, when he made 33 saves in a 1-0 win over the Red Wings. He sealed the deal with a final stop on Dennis Cholowski with an extra man on, providing the fateful clearing as time expired.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Rangers: The buyout of Henrik Lundqvist ends a great era of hockey

The writing was on the wall for Henrik Lundqvist and a potential buyout. It became official when the New York Rangers announced that they have bought out the final year of his contract on Wednesday.

Team president John Davidson  had this to say of  Hank whe n the buyout was announced to the hockey world,

“We would like to thank Henrik for his immeasurable contributions to the New York Rangers,” Rangers President and Alternate Governor John Davidson said. “From the time I met Henrik when he first came to New York in 2005, he has been the consummate professional. His tireless work ethic, passion for the game, and love of the Rangers and New York City enabled him to become one of the greatest goaltenders in hockey and one of the best players in the history of our franchise. We all wish Henrik and his family the best going forward.”

In an unceremonious fashion, the face of the franchise for the past 15 years will no longer don a Rangers sweater. Though this was no surprise, the reality of the situation is extremely surreal.

Henrik deserved a better farewell, but it was not meant to be with the emergence of Igor Shestrkin this past season and an $8.5 million salary-cap hit the club was unwilling to pay him as his status changed from starting goaltender to backup. He only started one of the team’s final 19 games of the season.

A Kings Accolades

Lundqvist was drafted in the 7th round (205th overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft while he was playing for Frolunda in the Swedish Junior League. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 8, 2005, in an overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils. He recorded his first NHL win five days later against the same Devils team. The King recorded his first shutout on Oct. 17, 2005, making 23 saves in a 4-0 victory against the Florida Panthers.

Hank finished his first season with 30 wins, setting a Rangers rookie record, he was fourth in the league with a .922 save percentage and fifth in goals against (2.24).

The King went on to win 30 or more games in each of the next 10 of 11 seasons. The 2012-’13 season was shortened due to the lockout, he still managed 24 wins in 43 games.

In 2013-’14 Hank lead the team to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Blueshirts lost that series to the Los Angelos Kings as it was his only Cup Final appearance.

The Are, Sweden native was a Vezina Trophy Finalist in each of his first three seasons and finally took home the hardware as the league’s best goalie in the 2011-’12 season recording a 39-18-5 record with a .930 save percentage and a 1.97 goals-against average. he has eight shutouts that year.

The Records

  • The Only goaltender in NHL history to record 30 wins in each of his first seven seasons.
  • First NHL goaltender to start his career with 11 straight, 20-win seasons.
  • 11 seasons to the postseason in his first 12 years, 11 playoff series victories.
  • New York Rangers club record, games played, single-season: 73 (2009–10).
  • Most wins (459) by a New York Rangers goaltender.
  • Fastest goaltender to record 400 wins in NHL History
  • Most shutouts (64) by a New York Rangers goaltender.
  • Most Playoffs wins (61) by a New York Rangers goaltender.
  • Consecutive Game 7 wins (6).
  • A two-time recipient (2005-06, 2017-18) of the Steven McDonald ExtraEffort Award.
  • Most wins by a European-born goaltender in NHL history
  • Five Time NHL All-Star

Henrik Lundqvist Foundation

There are few players who have an impact not only in the locker room and on the ice, but also in the community.

The Henrik Lundqvist Foundation was founded in 2014 by NY Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and his wife Therese. After years of service through Madison Square Garden’s Garden of Dreams Foundation, including serving as a spokesperson since 2009, Henrik decided to create his own Foundation which runs its own HLF Young Ambassador Program but also partners with a few carefully selected community partners in New York City, Sweden and the Dominican Republic.

In 2015, HLF launched its first Foundation-run program, the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation Young Ambassador Program. The program was started because of Henrik & Therese’s belief in the incredible power of young people to make a difference in the world.

So many times there is a player who fans expect so much from, sometimes the expectations are unachievable, but Lundqvist always strived to reach every one of them. He incredible focus and work ethic was second to none despite playing in one of the largest NHL markets.

Henrik is a sure-fire Hall Of Famer, as he holds many NHL and Rangers records that fans will appreciate more now that he is no longer a member of the Blueshirts.

Though writers are supposed to be impartial, I have had trouble doing this while writing this story. The fan in me took over the writer in me the more this story unfolded.

His stats, as impressive as they are, are only one part of the player. New York can be a very tough and intimidating place to play. Under the lights at the world’s most famous arena made that job so much harder, yet the one thing running through my mind as I conclude this story are the fans celebrating his wins.

A Final Salute

Hank took a moment to thank the organization. It was with the same class and poise he has shown throughout his time in New York.

Seeing Hank punch is glove had into the air after a big win, celebrating overtime victories in huge playoff games, and enjoying seeing him win game four of the Stanley Cup Finals in 2014  in are the memories I will cherish forever.

The chants of Her-Rik, Hen-Rik will be missed.

Long live the King.