by Patrick Hoffman on 09/02/12 at 08:00 AM ET
There is no doubt that since New York Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist joined the league in the 2005-06 season, he has changed the Blueshirts for the better.
For starters, he gave the team a face. Prior to Lundqvist, the Blueshirts were a lifeless, aging and a somewhat forgetabble hockey club.
That all changed when Henrik burst onto the scene after the lockout. The team got younger, quicker, more exciting to watch and won a heckuva lot more hockey games.
Lundqvist was one of the main reasons for that. He supplied the consistent goaltending that had been missing since Mike Richter retired and showed that he was ready to take the team and New York City on his back and lead them to great things.
As the team's starting netminder since the 2005-06 season, Lundqvist has done great things both personally and for the team. Team-wise, Lundqvist has gotten the team into the postseason every season except for one (2009-10, helped the team win four playoff rounds and get into the Eastern Conference Finals (2011-12) and also led the team to their first Atlantic Division title since the memorable 1994 Stanley Cup-winning season.
Personally, Lundqvist has done alomst everything and more as an NHL goaltender. He has won 252 career games, has 43 career a shutouts, a career goals against average of 2.27 to go along with a career save percentage of .920.
Lundqvist has won one Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender (2012) while being nominated for the award three other times (2006, 2007 and 2008), won a Gold Medal for Team Sweden in 2006 at the Winter Olympics in Torino, has been named the team's most valuable player the last six season (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and has been named to the NHL All-Star game three times (2009, 2011, 2012).
While Lundqvist certainly has a ton of great credentials, the one thing missing from those credentials is the thing that he and his team covet the most and that is the Stanley Cup. Lundqvist came just six wins away from accomplishing just that last season but unfortunately, the club fell to the New Jersey Devils in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
At just 30 years of age, Lundqvist may have plenty of time left to win a Cup in his career but no place would be sweeter to win it in than on Broadway with the Rangers. For Lundqvist, the time to win hockey's Holy Grail is now.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.