Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blueland Guest Goalie: Henrik Lundqvist

All hail the King! Henrik Lundqvist a/k/a Hank...a/k/a King Henry, has been one of my favorite goalies for a while. I'm not a Rangers fan, but God knows I love me a Swedish goalie. Throw in the fact he's gorgeous, talented and has an identical twin brother and I'm SOLD!

I got to go to Madison Square Garden last year and see him play against Ottawa. I LOVED being able to chant HEN-RIK...HEN-RIK. They won in over time and he was the first star of the game. A perfect night for this goalie loving girl.

When King Henry lead the Rangers into Blueland on December 10, I had to pull against him. I did however get some pictures!

Henrik and his identical twin brother, Joel (center for the Dallas Stars), were born on March 2, 1982 in Åre, Jämtland, an area in Sweden known for its Alpine skiing.

In 1990 Henrik and Joel joined Järpens IF and started playing organized hockey for the first time. During one practice when the coach asked if anyone wanted to be a goaltender Joel grabbed and raised Henrik's arm and said that his brother would like to. Ah brotherly love.

In 1993 the Lundqvist family moved to southern Sweden to support Henrik's older sister's tennis career. Henrik and Joel played for a local team there and were eventually scouted by Frölunda. Henrik joined Frölunda in 2000.

Drafted in the 7th round (205th overall) in 2000 by the New York Rangers, Henrik struggled a bit early in his career. He lost his Elitserien debut game, but bounced back in the next game for a win. In his third straight start, he was pulled and replaced by a veteran goalie. Henrik only dressed for 9 more games and only got 1 more start which ended in a shoot out loss. He eventually lost his roster spot to American goalie, Pat Jablonski.

Henrik played 9 games for IF Mölndal Hockey in the Swedish second tier Allsvenskan, before joining Frölunda's junior team in the J20 SuperElit. After his poor play in Allsvenskan, and a tough start in the J20 SuperElit, he allowed six goals in an exhibition game against Canada. His coaches decided they needed to have a talk.

The talk must have worked. Lundqvist's turning point came at the turn of the year at the 2001 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Moscow, Russia, where he led the Swedish national Juniors team to a fourth place finish in the tournament. He spent the rest of the seasons in the J20 SuperElit where he played 18 games, leading the league in minutes played by a goaltender. In the playoffs, he led Frölunda to their second straight Anton Cup win.

In 2004, The Hockey News rated Henrik as the 6th best European prospect. During the 2005 season, Lundqvist broke four Swedish National Records:

* Lowest GAA (1.05)
* Highest Save Percentage (.962)
* Longest goalless streak (172 minutes 29 seconds)
* Most shutouts in a season (6)

He was also named the Best Goalie, best Swedish Player and selected as the league's MVP by his fellow players.

In 180 appearances, Henrik accumulated a 1.96 GAA and a .927 save percentage. He lead Frölunda to four consecutive playoff appearances and won two titles in 2003 and 2005.

Henrik knows how to make a splash! How about facing one of your worst rivals in your very first NHL game? Thanks to an injury to starting goal tender, Kevin Weekes, Henrik made his NHL debut at Continental Airlines in New Jersey where his Rangers faced the New Jersey Devils. Viktor Kozlov has the distinction of being the first NHL player to score on the King. The Rangers held a 2-1 lead going into the 3rd period, but Alexander Mogilny tied the game and Henrik ended up losing in OT. He did stop 24 of 27 shots.

Since Henrik arrived in the NHL the Rangers have reaped the benefits of King Henry's reign. On October 17, 2005, Henrik became the first rookie goaltender to record a shutout for the Rangers since John Vanbiesbrouck on Jan. 2, 1985 (6-0 vs.Vancouver) Later that year Henrik became the first rookie to be nominated for the Vezina Trophy since Washington's Jim Carey in 1994-95. Henrik was also named to the All Star Rookie team in 2006.

Henrik has been nominated for several awards.

* Vezina 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08
* All Star Team 2005-06, 2006-07, 2008-09 (made the team)
* Hart Trophy 2005-06

It's unbelievable that 2009 was Henrik's first appearance in an All Star game. His Vezina nomination in 2005-06 made him the first rookie to be nominated for a Vezina since Jim Carey in 1994-95. It's only a matter of time before the King wins a Vezina.

Henrik's regular season stats from the four full seasons he has spent with the Rangers:

Henrik has played in 265 games. He has 142 wins and 83 losses. He's faced 15, 678 shots and let 604 in. He has 20 shut outs.

GAA: 2.31
SV%: .917

Henrik has has success on international ice as well. In 2003 and 2004 he lead Team Sweden to silver medals. His biggest accomplishment though was in the 2006 Winter Olympics. He lead Team Sweden to a gold medal by defeating rival Finland.

Henrik Lundqvist is a super star, what can you say. He's a fantastic athlete and an amazing goalie.

He's also super hot and has received some accolades for that as well. In 2006 he was named one of People Magazine's "World's Most Beautiful People." He told the magazine in January 2009 that he would consider posing nude for the right price, although he kind of back peddled and said he probably wouldn't do it out of respect for his girlfriend. Awwwww.

Page Six Magazine not only has put him on their "Best Dressed" list a few times, they named him "The World's Sexiest Iceman."

This picture was taken by the 2nd luckiest woman in the world, Grace Huong. The LUCKIEST woman in the world is Therese Andersson, the King's girlfriend. A fellow Swede, she has known Henrik since he went pro in Sweden.

I'm sure none of my female readers are interested, but just in case you are and you want to see more pictures like this one or read about Henrik's workouts, what he does while hanging out and what he thinks about posing nude, you can check out the entire article here:

Also, it seems the King is working on his own website. It has some good pics and videos:

The King didn't even play when he came to Blueland, back up goalie Valiquette did. The Etobicoke, Ontario native led the Rangers to an OT victory over the Thrashers.
I thought I'd put up a few pictures of him because:

* Sorry King, Stephen's mask is WAY cooler.
* I got some good shots of him taking off his jersey!

Stephen has Spider Man on the top of his mask and the Statue of Liberty in a Rangers jersey on the right side.

Later in the game, Stephen had a little "wardrobe malfunction." Fortunately I caught it on camera.


Ms. Conduct June 11, 2009 at 6:16 AM  

My dirty little secret is that I'm hotter for Vali than Henrik. So, ya know, I love you for that wardrobe malfunction sequence.

Sunshine36616 June 11, 2009 at 6:56 AM  

Sweet! I'm glad I added the bonus then :)

mean mom productions June 11, 2009 at 7:28 AM  

great shot!


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