Henrik Lundqvist, Long May He Reign
When you look through sports in New York, the legends always win. No, we’re not talking about beloved players like David Wright. We’re talking true legends.
Every Yankees legend has a ring. Tom Seaver won with the 1969 Mets. The famed Knicks teams have two. LT has two, and even Namath and the Jets have one. The Islanders have their dynasty.
After 54 years, Leetch and the Rangers got his as well in one that may have to last a lifetime.
It’s funny. For it being the world’s most famous arena, it just seems to come up short over the last 25+ years in delivering titles with all-time great players. First, Patrick Ewing. Now, Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist could be the best Ranger of all-time. He might be the best hockey player in New York history. He’s definitively the best player to ever leave New York without a title.
That’s what happens when the Rangers officially buy out his contract later today. It is a decision which hurts, but in the end, it’s the right decision for all involved. Hopefully, everyone feels respected in the process.
The Rangers just couldn’t get it quite right. They had a legendary goaltender who was the driving force behind the Rangers going to the Conference Finals in three out of four years.
Maybe with a fair whistle, he and the Rangers have a Cup, but sadly, it didn’t happen. From there, the team had just one more run in them.
At the moment, the Stanley Cup, a living championship trophy, is incomplete without Lundqvist’s name etched onto it. Maybe Lundqvist goes somewhere next year, and he accomplishes what Ray Bourque and Dominic Hasek did before him.
Even if he doesn’t, it doesn’t change how great he is. For all the talk about his not winning a Stanley Cup, people conveniently forget he led Sweden to Olympic Gold in 2006. On the highest stage with the best players in the world, Lundqvist reigned.
And he still reigns because he’s not just a Rangers legend, or a hockey legend. He’s a New York legend.
Babe Ruth was the Sultan. Henrik Lundqvist is the King. He has been and always will be.
We will miss Lundqvist in a Rangers sweater between the pipes because he’s the best to ever do it. We look forward for his 30 hanging from the Garden rafters, and and we look to see what he does next.
Before all that, Rangers fans everywhere thank you. The past 15 years were among the best in Rangers history and that had come on the heels of the worst period in Rangers history.
You were responsible for that, and we loved you for it. Thank you.