Monday, March 8, 2010
|From henrik lundqvist|
Here's another Swedish Henrik Lundqvist interview.
"Many players have not been able to handle the press here"
Do you wonder what NHL players who dare to tease up and talk shit with Henrik Lundqvist on the ice? Or what a furious NHL coach can come up instead of a regular workout? Or what actually happens behind the scenes at New York Rangers? And why Madison Square Garden, for some players, will be hell on earth? This offers SPORT-Expressen Magnus Nyström on the answers.
It starts well. Yes, the Rangers met in all cases of jubilation as the team enters the home ice in Madison Square Garden for the game against bottom team the Florida Panthers. On this particular evening, it is also "Kids Day" with a 13-year-old who sings the national anthem, a twelve year-old who plays the organ and other special events for the youngest audience.
0 to 0 after the first period. Not good. Some have already begun to grumble in the stands. Maybe people are again a little extra - for the sake of the children.
After the second period, leading Florida by 3 - 0, a furious Henke Lundqvist has been replaced and the audience has become like a roaring monster that screams out his rage.
Against their own team.
No NHL team can be so mocked by his audience as the New York Rangers.
Worst is the hill Michal Rozsival.
The crowd boo as soon as he touches the puck.
He gets really mobbed and the ruthless audience in New York have cracked more than Rozsival players through the years.
I sit at the press gallery, anxious to be lowered in beer by one of the furious CHATTERBOX were behind me in the stands, who roared:
- Rozsival - you suck.
- Get off the ice.
Here's how it has always been in New York, what may seem to be the best NHL team to play in can be hell on earth. I remember some years ago interviewed former Rangers general manager Neil Smith and asked him about just that, but I thought he would respond with the name:
- I have seen many players who could not handle the press here. Luc Robitaille could not handle the boos. He had to come here to play well again, "said Smith.
Robitaille was a superstar who made almost 700 goals during its 19 seasons in the NHL - but he did not pressure Pallade in Manhattan.
Another time when I was in the game put a fan next to me and yelled that as he could:
- Kamensky. Please. Die.
Russian superstar Valeri Kamensky played since the Rangers.
Theo Fleury is another star who buat out of town.
Now it seems Rozsivals luck.
The players in the Rangers suffer with him, but Fredrik Sjöström said later to me that it is not something you talk about in the dressing room, that little bit pretend nothing.
- Of course you may pepper him a little extra, giving an extra kind of leg protectors. But otherwise ... no. We just hope that it will trickle out. And imagine in his situation ... no, damn awful.
In the third period, no one cares about the kids in the stadium anymore.
Rangers hooligan Aaron were, and Panthers heavyweight Anthony Stewart threw his gloves and cranks off worse than two packed greasers on Midsummer Eve.
- Hit him. Hit him, the earliest one läktardåre behind me.
A father and his son in the age of twelve, some läktarrader below me, I glance at the past and it has looked a bit cute when they shared the popcorn and cotton candy. Now the two are also up and screaming for blood.
After the match when the Rangers left the ice to boos and the roar of "Refund, refund (money back), it is not fun to go into the home team's locker room.
Henke after a loss, when he also been replaced, is not a nice acquaintance. When he finished talking with American journalists and a few other Swedish reporters he goes away, I catch him in flight and greet, we have met several times and he has always greeted politely.
Now he's just grumpy.
- I've already talked quarter, he hisses.
The truth is maybe half the time, I wonder if we can talk more after the workout the next day.
- Yes, yes, "he says and disappears.
Instead I turn to Markus Naslund.
One of the most courageous Swedes in the NHL.
Naslund is exactly the kind of player who can get a hell of New York, an old star who has his best time behind him.
But it has been the captain of an NHL team in Canada is one of a certain kind. Naslund was fully aware of what to expect in this town. It was precisely because he wanted to hit. He wanted a new challenge, the toughest possible, in order to kick-start his career again. It is really worth all the admiration.
Markus Naslund is also angry, but surrounded by journalists, he answered lots of questions. And he is self-critical. Against both himself and the team.
- Hank is our backbone. He has saved us many times, it is our fault that he will be replaced. We can not rely too much on Hank, we need to make goals and win matches for him, "says Mark in English without accent.
- We should have learned what happens if we are not ready to play the game in the NHL. We did not do the job that needs to be done.
Later I see a Henke Lunqvist with black eyes, leave the dressing room. I let him alone. Later I learned that not only I had trouble with him that night. Henke says:
- I could see four people in connection with any charitable thing.
- My girlfriend (Therese Andersson) was telling me: "Now you calms you down." I had to take a deep breath and then show up the big smajlet. I had, even if it was burning inside.
Rangers training venue is located in the suburb of Tarrytown, and when I go there the day after the match against Florida, I am ready for anything.
NHL coaches in adversity can come up with anything.
Markus Naslund had Mike Keenan. And Naslund tells me of one of Keenan's most odd grip.
- We had a heavy period and played poorly, then we came to Washington for a road game. Keenan got a bus and took us to the Vietnam monument with the names of all Americans who died in the war. Then he pointed at the black wall and told us: "You think you have it tough. Look at this."
Rangers Tom Renney belongs fortunately for Rangers the quieter types.
Otherwise, 0 to 4 at home easily be followed by a killer pass with only ice skating without pucks.
Tom Renney is nice and when he receives the media reminds him of a polished politician who appeals to many of his interrogators with the first name and fend off any tough questions elegant.
He feels like a man very happy with his job - and himself. He talks even about himself in third person when the next game will be speaking.
- Tom Renney does not say much for reviving this team when we face Pittsburgh.
The only time he looks a little irritated when the Rangers are the wretched power play is mentioned and then he gives the media some debt.
- Power-play must be surprising. We must have more options, our scouts so much that if we only have one weapon, then we saw through and then we do not have goals ... but then I read the players all over the poor PP we have, then hang it even more.
When the Rangers train I feel almost sorry for Henke Lundqvist.
Being a hockey goalie is never fun. Especially not in training.
When he is alone against the world. Field players celebrating being nice goal, never rescues. And just out there I Henke afterwards.
- I know. You're right. They are all against me.
But you are not as Patrick Roy, who could become angry even when he let in goals workout?
- Well, it was worse when I was younger. Now I can be pretty relaxed for long periods of training sessions. Some yawns a lot when they do target. Type the American style, but when I save their next shot I cry Sweden style.
- But when I really go for full on training, then I do not like to let in goals. I'll be annoyed, but it's competitive instinct and I have to push myself all the time to get better.
When I dare to point out how "ugly" he is to face after a loss.
I hardly dare walk up to you.
- I feel so terribly bad about losing. I hate it more than I love winning. The feeling I have after a loss is stronger than the feeling I have after a victory.
Moreover, he can be just as angry at teammates.
And Sjostrom, recognize me:
- Talk to Henke for losses? No, you. When I stay away.
Henke can also be raging on the ice and yell at teammates who miss the selections. Super Star Scott Gomez is probably the one who received this year's worst name-calling, but the next day said Henke:
- Gomez and I are friends again.
What do you say to them?
- I roared into a bit. Profanity? Well, but okay, if I were Fox and it went on TV in the U.S., then it is probably a pipe part.
Rangers v Pittsburgh.
Försnacket in the Rangers dressing room is almost exclusively on two players.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin.
- Reta them. For them the whole time. Was hellish, "said coaches and players to each other.
A Wayne Gretzky, a Foppa, a Henrik Zetterberg is the players never went or goes to tease so that they become worse. There are of course more of that type.
Other stars are more sensitive. And NHL-law with all its talent scouts (scouts are not just to hunt young talents, but also to identify prospective opponents) have understood the death an eye on this.
Anton Strålman has admitted to me that Toronto is always talking about trying to get worked up Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Bäckström in matches against Washington.
- And yes, it works sometimes.
- If the two get it on hard, can it be good for us. Although Ovechkin could become so angry he almost becomes dangerous when he jumps into Tackling the high elbow.
Markus Naslund smiled a bit when I asked him about the Pittsburgh game.
- It is clear that we want to get Crosby and Malkin to think about other things than hockey.
During the match, I see that some Pittsburgh players are trying trashtalka with Henke Lundqvist.
Trash Talk is an art in North America, especially in the NBA are players who can talk away opponents completely out of the matches.
There are NHL players who are big in the mouth too.
And Yes, after a bit constrained, I got Henke to reveal the worst.
- Swedes are talking the most. I like not talking on the ice. But few talk very much with me. It is very: "tonight I'll make goals for yourself."
- Zäta and "Pebben" worst of all.
Henrik Zetterberg and Per-Johan Axelsson is still recovering - afterwards.
- I can take revenge with SMS on the day following the match, if they failed to score on me. But with Zäta is the problem, he has made some goals for myself. "Pebben" is easier to give back to.
Rangers beat Pittsburgh.
Thanks to his Swedes.
Henke is ... yes, himself.
Markus Naslund to score the decisive penalty shoot out and Fredrik Sjöström panga in the victory target. He is the Rangers best penalty shot.
- Before I decide where to put the puck. Then I drive. And I change my mind is not what the goalkeeper than doing.
Now it is all in good humor and Henke goes even up to me, he knows that I'm going to leave New York the next day.
- Have a nice day now, bon voyage, "he says.
30th Henrik Lundqvist
Born March 2, 1982 in Åre. / Goalkeeper. / Fourth season in the NHL.
Come to Rangers: They made their debut in the NHL after the lockout season 2004/05.
Previous clubs: Frölunda.
NHL-record: Following its three seasons in the NHL has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy, the prize to the league's best goaltender.
Other qualifications: national championships with Frölunda and Olympic gold. Annual salary: 6 875 000 dollars (54 million Swedish kronor).
Nickname: King Henry, Henke and Hank.
Family: Lives with Therese Andersson.
Lives: Apartment in Manhattan.
Statistics 08/09: 33 matches, 19 wins, 2.67 goals against per game.