Now set to embark on his seventh season with the Rangers, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
is prepared for a big and busy season in New York.
"I'm excited about it," Lundqvist said. "There are so many things going on for us this year that I'm always excited to be back in New York and get ready for a new season, but with this one it feels like a little extra. We start in Europe, then we have the Winter Classic, and our home rink is a little different now with the renovations. And then we have the HBO (show 24/7). I mean, I don't really know how it's going to play out and how much they're going to follow us, but we just have to be mentally prepared that they're going to be around us and just have to deal with it."
Goalie - NYR
GAA: 2.28 | SVP: 0.923
With the staples of the Rangers still intact and Brad Richards
joining the team via free agency, it seems like the team is in line for an improved season from their eighth-place finish last regular season and a first-round exit at the hands of the Washington Capitals
Lundqvist certainly agrees.
"I'm really excited about our team right now," Lundqvist said. "We kept the core from last year -- almost everybody is still here. And then we add a player like Brad (Richards), who's a top guy, high skill level. I think he will play a really big role for us, especially on the power play. But also in a leadership role and we have a pretty young team. He's going to play a big part for sure. We'll see where it goes, but I'm really excited about Brad coming here, but also the way the management kept the team over the summer and then re-signed a lot of guys. I'm excited."
Lundqvist might be thrilled to have the addition of Richards, but he should know that he was one of the biggest reasons Richards chose to come to New York.
"Goaltending's the backbone of every team," Richards said. "That was part of the lure of New York, knowing you're going to have a goalie like that for the next 4-5 years he's signed and hopefully longer. It goes without saying how huge it is. You can't rely on it, but it's pretty nice. I've watched him over the years. He's one of the top goalies in the league for sure."
With a duo of Lundqvist between the pipes and Richards setting up sniper Marian Gaborik
, the Rangers appear poised for a much deeper run in the 2011-12 season.