He is likely to be older now, however ‘King Henrik’ has confirmed that on any given evening, he can nonetheless be as sharp as ever. His play, and the outcomes that come from it, can educate the subsequent wave a useful lesson.Henrik Lundqvist|Gregg Forwerck/NHLI by way of Getty ImagesHenrik Lundqvist is among the few athletes you’ll be able to truly confer with as a greybeard and it’s correct. He has a beard – and sure, it’s spectacular – and now that he’s 37 and in his 15th NHL season, some gray flecks are starting to emerge round his chin. Hey, Alex Ovechkin has had the salt-and-pepper search for a few years now and a few white hairs are even starting to look on Sidney Crosby. It occurs and all of us need to take care of it.
But when Lundqvist’s efficiency over the previous two video games is any indication, he’s not ready to go quietly into the evening and hand his crown to the longer term tantalizing tandem of Alexandar Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin. After sitting three straight video games, Lundqvist backstopped the Rangers to back-to-back victories over the Detroit Crimson Wings and Carolina Hurricanes, stopping 80 of 83 pictures whereas New York generated solely 50 of their very own. The Four-2 win over the Hurricanes Thursday evening was classic Lundqvist. After the primary interval, the Rangers had been outshot 22-6 and have been main 1-Zero.
So what to do a couple of 37-year-old goaltender who appears to thrive the extra he works? Whereas increasingly more NHL groups are loath to make use of their No. 1 in back-to-back video games, it’s clear Lundqvist thrives in these conditions. As Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Submit factors out, Lundqvist has had 85 back-to-back begins in his profession and has a 54-23-Eight mark with a .928 save share and a 2.12 goals-against common within the second of these video games. When Lundqvist spoke on the NHL’s pre-season media tour in November, he made it clear that the fireplace nonetheless burns in him. “It’s not simply to go on the market and benefit from the sport, and to get pleasure from all of the issues that include it,” Lundqvist mentioned. “It’s profitable video games. While you win video games, that’s actually what makes me completely satisfied.”
At 7-6-1, the Rangers are in what I name the “mushy center” of the NHL, not adequate to be a severe contender, not dangerous sufficient to capitalize on having a excessive lottery choose. Are they adequate to make the playoffs? Effectively, after a small pattern measurement, lower than 1 / 4 of the season, they’ve proved their adequate to hold across the wild-card fringes. They in all probability received’t make it, however that doesn’t imply Lundqvist can’t be a useful contributor to them earlier than his contract runs out after subsequent season.
As a result of, you see, whereas it’s all effectively and good to attempt to engineer a tank and cargo up on picks and prospects, that strategy is flawed. It takes far longer than folks suppose and the ache is big. And there’s no assure that it’ll work. What younger prospects want greater than to be taught tips on how to lose is to play in significant video games and so long as the Rangers can try this, their younger gamers will likely be studying useful classes and turning into battle-hardened.
Lundqvist has already cemented his legacy as one of many all-time greats, each as a Ranger and a goalie within the NHL. He’ll virtually definitely retire with no Stanley Cup to his credit score. He has earned the precise to retire a Ranger and he has made it crystal clear that’s what he desires to do. So by holding his crew in video games the best way he did in opposition to the Hurricanes, it offers the remainder of the Rangers motive to maintain engaged and aggressive, even in video games the place they’re being badly outplayed.
By October and November of final season, Lundqvist had a 9-9-2 document with a .906 SP. He received solely 9 extra of his subsequent 31 begins to complete the season with an 18-23-10 document. “I nonetheless love the sport,” he mentioned. “I keep in mind the sensation I had in November final 12 months, simply feeling like I actually get pleasure from this. And in March, it was a special feeling. It was an enormous distinction in the best way I felt and that’s why I wanted to regroup a bit bit after the season.”
Rangers coach David Quinn has already acknowledged that he desires Lundqvist to begin 60 % of the video games, with the opposite 40 going to Georgiev. That will put Lundqvist at about 50 begins. He began a full-season profession low 52 video games in 2018-19, however the begins now are about high quality over amount.
“Earlier than, I didn’t take into consideration the age,” Lundqvist mentioned in September. “However now I really feel like I wish to show (to) the younger guys that I’m the older man. Particularly whenever you go 1-on-1, that age factor involves thoughts typically. And it’s enjoyable, ? Particularly when a few of these guys are, what, 17 years youthful, 18 years youthful? It’s a giant hole.”
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Tags: ny rangersConnect: Concerning the AuthorKen CampbellKen Campbell, The Hockey Information’ senior author, is in his second tour with the model after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native as soon as tried out for the Ontario League’s Wolves as a 30-year-old. For sure, it did not work out.