With the NHL season on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, Henrik Lundqvist reflects on his New York Rangers career.
This season brought heartache for New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. You could see it in his eyes.
The King was a guest on the “Luuk & Hallberg” show, the Swedish talk show equivalent to “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” here in New York. Lundqvist discussed his time following the NHL’s shutdown and what he has been doing since he returned to his home country.
Lundqvist dressed as he always does in a sharp-looking suit with no tie, told the host he is back home in Gothenburg. He traveled back home with his wife and daughters once he realized the season would be paused for a long period of time. He travels home every year following the conclusion of his Rangers season, but it has been 15 years since he has been home in the month of April.
Hank has been doing what everyone seems to be doing during this unusual global pandemic—spending a lot of time with his children. He has been trying to keep in shape, playing tennis to help with his cardio workouts and working out in the gym.
His time this season with the Blueshirts appeared to be a tough situation to talk about. The hurt he feels was visible as he answered questions about what may happen once the season ends.
“Fifteen years, it’s been fast,” Lundqvist said. “We’ll see what happens in the future. A lot happened to me during the year, I played less.”
The interviewer then asked the question that got a smile out of Henrik, “Are young Russians knocking?”
The question highlighted the uncertainty regarding Lundqvist’s future in New York. He’s spent his entire career with the Rangers, but all good things must come to an end.
“That’s when it starts to get older. Nothing lasts forever, you have a goal image and dream, but one must also adapt to the surroundings and reality,” Lundqvist explained. “This summer we will see what happens. I’ve always seen myself play [for] in Rangers and last for a very long time.”
The 38-year-old netminder now realizes he can take it year by year. The most poignant moment of the interview was when he talked about this past winter stating it was a tough time.
“I had a certain role in the team for almost 15 years. I knew exactly the conditions. Now it changed sharply,” Lundqvist said. “So I think a lot daily, almost every hour, for months. It gets pretty hard mentally. Now that I am home I focus on my family and gather my thoughts. Then maybe I’ll start thinking about the future for a while.”
Hank’s future has been a hot topic since the team’s rebuilding process began two years ago. He has one year remaining after this season with a salary-cap hit of $8.5 million.
The face of the franchise acknowledged a conversation will come once this season is over. Due to the COVID-19 situation, Lundqvist has no idea what is next for the team or the NHL. The season could be canceled or play could continue throughout the summer.
Hank has had some great moments with the Rangers. His records speak for themselves, yet it appears with the emergence of Alexandar Georgiev and rookie Igor Shesterkin, the King’s time in New York will end.
One thing remains clear for Lundqvist, a tough conversation awaits him once the 2019-20 season officially concludes. A divorce between the King and the Blueshirts appears imminent.