Since the article is ridiculously long, I keep with Henrik's own quotes and some chosen parts. You can try to google translate it if you want to read the whole story.
"I really wish we can get everything together and go really far in the playoffs." "
It's only me left on the team from that [05/06] season", Henke Lundqvist summarizes, now a veteran.
A pro contract gives a very high pay but zero contract security. That Henke Lundqvist has three years left on his contract is no guarantee that he'll remain with the Rangers. The star goalie's contract contains no "No Trade" clause. "Nobody goes safe". It occurs trades nobody would've expected", says Lundqvist. The Swedish goalie has been selected as the NYR's MVP the past five seasons - a record - so there's hardly any danger that he'll be traded. "I want to play in New York, I like it here incredibly well. I try not to think about it. But somewhere deep inside I'm aware things can change. Would they, you have to take the consequences and not turn into a wreck."
After six years Henke has rooted himself in New York, where he lives with his recently married wife Therese. "It's wonderful to live on Manhattan, you live quite anonymous. I think it's great." Already during Henke Lundqvist's first season in NHL, came his biggest sport success, but not with the Rangers but with Three Crowns in Turin, Italy. "As a merit the olympic gold is my biggest success, but emotionally it's to reach big goals that I've had since growing up. Every step in the career that you've strived for is very big once it has been reached; junior national team, playing in the SEL, the national team and the first games in NHL."
New York is a distinct sports town. Hockey can't measure itself with baseball in popularity, but the franchise is one of the original six in NHL and at the home games are full. "The New Yorkers live for sports. If they don't like it, well... they'll let you know", says Henke Lundqvist and laughs. The expectations on the team are high despite that the sports success has been absent during the 20th century. "New York is a city where people work really hard to be where they are. When they look at sports they expect the same attitude by us athletes."
With a regular season at over 80 games and long travels it can hardly be just as fun at every faceoff. "I enjoy this life. I'm comfortable as we live with travels, a fun sport and to socialize with good and fun people. But, of course some days you aren't always on top - when you practice, travel and come hom in the middle of the night. But most often, almost always when you do well, it's fun. And you notice that in the dressing room. We win two, three games in a row, life is fun. And then there's two, three losses in a row and you feel in the atmosphere the tensity increases. It goes like that in waves the whole season."
Henke Lundqvists understand to appreciate the life as pro. "I've started to realize lately that the career only lasts a limited time, you don't have that many years. Hence I try to get a hold of myself even on the days when it feels heavy. It's about realizing how good off you are." The past season was statisically Lundqvist's best, for example he had eleven shutouts. But for the team it was, as usual, a quick exit in the playoff. The NYR were eliminated by the Washington Capitals - again - already in the first round. "Before the past season I had as a goal to have better numbers than ever. One of the goals was ten shutouts. It was relieving to succeed with that."
"As a goalie you have to set personal goals. Among the hardest things is to only focus on what you can affect, your own game. It's the only thing that matters. Sometimes you think too big and say 'now we have to win'. Of course everybody feels that way, but it's better to focus on 'I have to save the next shot'. And hopefully that'll lead to us winning." Sweden has in all these years had players that have been among the very best in NHL, but on the goalie side it hasn't been as star packed. One single Swede has won the Vezina: Pelle Lindbergh for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1985. The same year he passed away in a car accident, 26 years old.
"When I started playing hockey I had Pekka Lindmark as an idol. He was really big at the end of the 1980's", says Lundqvist. Pekka Lindmark never came to the NHL. That not more Swedish goalies have reached the absolute top in NHL Henrik Lundqvist explains like this: "We haven't really had the tradition in youth with goalie coaches and goalie schools. It's soemthing that has developed the last ten to fifteen years. Finland for example have been ahead, they have really good goalies."
"When I arrived there wasn't that many young Swedish goaltenders in the SEL. It was alot of foreign goalies as starting goalies. Now you see alot of young Swedes as starters. It's been going forward." Henke Lundqvist himself tries to commit to the development with his hockey school for young goalies, 'Goal in the net', that is held on Öckerö in the Gothenburg archipelago each summer. "It's fun with the little ones, to see how aware they are at early age. When I was that age I had no idea what I was doing, more than trying to stop the puck. Now there is knowledge that wasn't there before", he says.
"Take the web for example, where they can see and learn. When I was young you couldn't even watch SEL on TV and there was no Internet. Now you can watch youtube, see and learn alot just by watching others. That's why I think these 8-, 9-, 10 year old already know so much about the game. They are very technical despite their age." A trend is that young, talented players take the chance to go to North America as soon as possible, the're becoming younger and younger when leaving Sweden. "There are few chosen top players that can handle going directly to the NHL. I don't think I would've managed that when I was 20", says Henke Lundqvist.
"I was on my way over when I was 22, but then there was the lockout. It suited me perfectly. I could play another year in SEL that was really good that year because of all the [NHL] pro players. When I then arrived to NHL I felt well prepared, both mentally and technically." In NHL Henke Lundqvist has been playing with and against the world's best players. "The best player I've ever played with is probably Jaromir Jagr. You didn't realize how good he was until he was gone. You became spoiled. It's fun to have been playing with him."
"But the best leader is without doubt Mats Sundin. What a great leader he was for the team. You immediately noticed what a great deal of respect he carried with him when he entered the dressing room. There are some who just have such leader capabilities." Mats Sundin was the captain when Sweden won the olympic gold in 2006. The trophy Henke Lundqvist is hoping to lift next is the one Lord Stanley founded: Stanley Cup.
"Each time you're getting closer to the playoffs you hope you can experience something special. You've been talking to some of them from 1994, how special it was." The risk is that Lundqvist will wait and wait. All Rangers fans know about "The Curse of 1940", the curse that rested over the franchise between 1940 and 1994. The New York Rangers didn't win the Stanley Cup in 54 years! Since 1994 it has only been 17 years.