Henrik Lundqvist ready for Rangers jersey to be retired
Henrik Lundqvist went from a seventh-round pick out of Sweden in 2000 to a franchise icon for the New York Rangers.
On Friday, he will get his No. 30 raised to the rafters at Madison Square Garden before the Rangers host the high-scoring Minnesota Wild.
“The past 15 have been the best 15 years of my life,” he said today at a press conference. “Being part of this organization means everything to me and my family.”
Henrik Lundqvist ready for special night
Lundqvist made his debut in 2005-06 after the Rangers had missed the postseason in seven straight seasons. He went on to post 459 wins, a .918 save percentage, a 2.43 goals-against average and 64 shutouts while helping turn things around for the team.
The Rangers made the playoffs in 11 of his first 12 seasons, including a run to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
“When I came here, I didn’t know what to expect. I just wanted to play hockey, I just wanted to live my dream,” Henrik explained. “Thinking back now, I don’t know how many times I had to pinch myself. I’m really living my dream here. To come to place where people care so much. To play at Madison Square Garden. It’s been absolutely amazing.”
His standout career will earn him an honor bestowed on Adam Graves, Brian Leetch, Mark Messier, Mike Richter, Rod Gilbert, Ed Giacomin, Andy Bathgate, Harry Howell, Jean Ratelle and Vic Hadfield.
“I remember playing in a lot of those games, for Messier, Graves, for a lot of those guys. I was on the ice when they were retiring their numbers. And it was a cool moment to be a part of that, to see them, to experience it and realize how much they meant to this organization,” Lundqvist said in preparation of tonight.
Lundqvist will have plenty of friends and family there
“I don’t know how I’m going to feel,” Lundqvist admitted. “I know my closest friends and my entire family will be here. And that alone will make it very special for me.”
The Rangers will face the Wild, who have two familiar faces to Lundqvist in Mats Zuccarello and goalie Cam Talbot. Zuccarello debuted with the Rangers in December 2010 and scored 113 goals in 509 regular-season games during nine seasons with New York. Talbot was Lundqvist’s backup during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
“It’s huge for him and his family,” Zuccarello said Thursday of Lundqvist’s honor. “It’s going to be cool for me to experience that and be a part of that.”
“A lot of people are asking me if I’m going to cry,” Lundqivst said. “If I cry, I cry. I just want to walk out of here and be in the moment and just feel as much as I can feel.”
–Field Level Media contributed to this article