Posted by: Adventures in Pucking | August 23, 2011

Man of the Day 8/23: Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist

Born March 2, 1982 (age 29) in Are, Sweden

Goaltender for the New York Rangers

It’s always OK to show some goalie love, especially for a man with the talent level of King Henrik. (That nickname, by the way, was bestowed on him after a standout rookie season in New York.) Lundqvist has been playing hockey since he was a little goalie growing up in Sweden along with his twin brother Joel, who also plays hockey and is with a Swedish team right now but did play for the Stars for a time. Joel actually led Henrik to goaltending when, during a practice, the coach asked if someone wanted to be goalie and Joel offered up his brother. That worked out pretty well. He started performing very well in the Swedish leagues, well enough to be  ranked the sixth best European prospect by The Hockey News in 2004. The Rangers picked him up in the 2005 draft, so he joins the ranks of homegrown talent spotlighted here. As I mentioned above, his rookie season was definitely one for the highlight reels and he added another notable distinction the next season when he faced Joel in a game. (The Lundqvist twins are only the third set to ever play each other in an NHL game.) He also signed a six-year contract with the blueshirts in 2008 that makes him the highest-paid netminder in the league. He’s earned the Rangers MVP award for five consecutive years and won at least 30 games in his first six seasons.

The man is a highlight reel on skates.

He’s represented Tre Kronor in many different international events, but his most memorable one has to be the 2006 Olympics, when he helped Sweden defeat its rival Finland and take home the gold medal. I imagine that was a bit like the Miracle on Ice, but with pro-level players and much less communism. 2006 also saw him featured in People’s annual 100 Most Beautiful People issue. He’s been given Best Dressed awards by American and Swedish publications, he and Sean Avery (along with unnamed business partners) have a TriBeCa restaurant named Tiny’s and he used to play guitar in a band called Box Play. He had a 36-27-5 record with 11 shutouts, 2.28 GAA and .923 save percentage in 2010-11, but a less stellar 1-4, 2.25, .917 2010-11 playoffs run, but obviously the Rangers have quite a lot of faith in him for the future.

Plus, he likes to relax in the park with his dog. Who can blame him?

 -Emma


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