Wednesday, March 17, 2010
|From henrik lundqvist|
Henrik found out via text message, Joel sent him a text:
"It said, 'They have a great scorer in Dallas right now, so you better be ready'," Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said with a laugh. "I realized right away that he was called up."
The electronic dispatch that arrived Wednesday afternoon wasn't from any ordinary opponent. It was sent by Lundqvist's identical twin, Joel, a center, who was summoned from the minors to join the Stars for tonight's game, and presumably longer. "It's a pretty big deal for both of us," Henrik said after the morning skate at American Airlines Center. As youngsters in Sweden and through the junior ranks, to the national team and the Swedish Elite League, the twins always were teammates. "We've never played against each other," he said.
That is until tonight, when not only was the matchup a new experience for the dark-haired 24-year-olds, it was one for the NHL record books.
The Lundqvists are the third set of twins to play versus each other in the NHL, but tonight marked the first time that one was a forward and the other a goaltender. The last time that two twins faced each other was on March 14, 1994, when Rich and Ron Sutter played wearing different jerseys. Patrik and Peter Sundstrom played against each other 18 times, the Sutters 17. The only other twins active in the NHL are Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who've played their entire careers for the Vancouver Canucks.
From henrik lundqvist
This family reunion was a bit of a surprise. Joel had been returned to the Stars' Iowa affiliate in the American Hockey League on Sunday after playing four games with Dallas, but when Mike Modano was put on injured reserve, he was quickly recalled. "We talked last week when he was up and we were looking forward to seeing each other, but he got sent down, so of course we were a little disappointed," said Henrik. "I'm excited, but it feels a little bit strange, I'll tell you that."
Said Joel: "We lived together for 20 years, so you know a lot about him, how he feels in different situations. It's going to be amazing."
From their beginnings in hockey, the twins knew their roles. "I was a goalie from the start, from when I was eight or nine," Henrik said. "We skated before that and we took turns, he was in the net a couple times. But in the first practice [with a youth team], I was the goalie."
So who has the advantage: shooter or stopper?
"I would say 50-50," said Henrik. "We've practiced a lot against each other growing up, a lot of shots and breakaways and it's funny, sometimes I just know where he's going. But it doesn't help me all the time. I just have to be patient and see what he's up to."
Over in the Stars' dressing room, Joel---who was born 40 minutes after Henrik on March 2, 1982---said that after all these years, he was aware of flaws in his brother's game. "I don't tell everybody. Yeah, I'm gonna tell the team. He's good, but if I get a breakaway, I know what to do."
The brothers are understandably similar physically (6-foot-1, between 190 and 195), but have developed individually. "When we were smaller kids, we were more like one person. But when we got to be 16 or 17, we had our own personalities," said Joel. "He's a goalie so he's maybe stronger about himself. I'm more like a team player; he's a team player, but as a goalie you're more left alone. If he had played forward, he would be a goal scorer, because he likes to be in front. I'm a hard worker, a two-way player."
Their careers are on different arcs as well. Lundqvist crashed the party as a rookie last year in New York, winning 30 games for the resurgent Rangers, emerging as a Vezina Trophy candidate and being named one of People Magazine's 50 "Most Beautiful People". Joel was a third-round pick in 2000 whose first taste of the NHL just came on Dec. 4. "I'm not surprised he's played in the NHL," Joel said of Henrik. "He had three or four really good years in Sweden, but I'm surprised how really big he has become in New York." Asked about his brother's appearance on the magazine's list, he grinned. "It's terrible. I don't know where my spot is."
From henrik lundqvist
Stars' coach Dave Tippett does. "Joel brought some good grit to our lineup, some identity to our fourth line. He's a smart checking player who has a physical edge to his game...It was funny watching practice out there. You could see his twin (Henrik) down standing at the glass, just watching everything he did. Hopefully, he can watch him shoot on him tonight."