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Henrik Lundqvist on his love of NY, the rebuild and more

Henrik Lundqvist spoke with Jeff Marek and Elliotte Freidman at Sportsnet and said:

  • On who has impressed him so far in the informal skates, “we got the second overall pick this summer in Kakko and he is looking good. He’s big, strong, has good hands. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him this early but he looks like he is well prepared and I’m interested to see how we come together as a group. We signed some really good players over the summer, Panarin is looking really smooth, as expected, the next few weeks will be really important for us to get on the same page with the new players, young players and talk about our goals and what kind of pressure we can put on with this group.”
  • On what it’s been like the last couple of years, “last year was probably my toughest year and I count my 4-5 years in Sweden as a pro, almost 20 years, to be mentally in the right place and the type of expectations that you have and the type of pressure that you can place on yourself because in the end you want to win games. The love and respect I have for the organization is so big, I wanted to stay through this. I want to compete, I want to battle, I want to do what I can and obviously the goal is to still be around when we start seeing the light in the tunnel here and start turning the page and I think that this summer was an important one for the team and organization, it’s all looking good and we are coming into the season with some momentum.”
  • Did you think it could turn around quick, “it’s hard to say. My mindset is just taking it year by year, week by week but you don’t want to look to far. All I knew is that I want to stay in New York, be a Ranger. Like I said earlier, I want to be here when things turn around and we’re back on track. We had so many good years, we’re a relevant team and we’re in the mix every year and that’s where I want to be again with the Rangers. My biggest dream is still to try to win the Cup with the Rangers and I think we’re on the right track here with this summer and it’s up to us now to prove we’re turning the page, we’re improving as a group and as a team and to get back that excitement. That’s critical and I think that New York is such a fun place to play when you feel that excitement and it’s up to us, the players now, to bring it back to the Garden, to the fans. It’s a big step this summer, but now you just continue to build what the organization started here a couple years ago.”
  • On goalie platoons, “I think this conversation started 4-5 years ago and I thought, maybe the game changed, it’s so intense being a goalie and in the past you could play 3 in 4 and feel pretty good. To play 3 in 4 today is a lot and the last couple of years we have this discussion and I prefer not to talk about a number, it’s more that you go out and play and feel it out and don’t get too stubborn with needing to reach a certain number and same for the coaches. Sometimes you play a little bit more but you look at how the team is playing, how intense the games are. Sometimes you can play 3-4 games and you aren’t tired, sometimes you play very intense games and you are extremely tired. The number has dropped over the years and you are looking at 55 games, 60 games or less. The days when you played 70 games, I think those are gone, the game is much more intense today.”
  • What do you want your teammates to say about you, “I take a lot of pride in how I compete and hopefully they appreciate my compete level and desire to win every night and I love to compete in practice and take a lot pride in that as well.”

Lundqvist spoke more last week on a few of these topics as well.