6– The amount of goals let up by Henrik Lundqvist at a children’s birthday party. The New York Rangers have had a great start to their season as they currently sit at 2nd place in the metropolitan division. The Rangers’ success typically stems from the sure hand and solid goaltending of Henrik Lundvqist. Lundqvist, a former 3-time NHL All Star and Vezina Trophy winner, has been among the top goaltenders in the league since entering the league in 2005. This year, Lundqvist has been less than stellar in the net causing NYR coach Alain Vigneault to bench him on multiple occasions. Vigneault made this comment in a post-game press conference.
“Hank is great. All of the guys in the locker room love him. The organization loves him. But we love winning more. Hank is not performing at the level we know he is capable of, so we decided to give him some time off. He is going to take a mandatory vacation to clear his head. Effective immediately.”
An aloof Lundqvist sat in the empty locker room after the press conference. “Being a goaltender is all I know. What am I going to do now?” Lunqvist said under his breath. Lundqvist spent the next several days sulking in his New York apartment. Days ticked by and still Lundqvist did not seem like his true self. Apathetic to the world around him, Lundqvist days now consisted of Frosted Flakes and Law and Order marathons. A week into his vacation his agent called. “I got a call from this parent. Her son is having a birthday party and they would like to know if you could make an appearance?” his agent offered. “I’ll be there,” Lundqvist said without a second thought.
As Lunqvist pulled up to SkateZone USA in Rutherford, New Jersey swarms of 10-year-old boys hovered around his car. A banner that read “Happy 10th Birthday Jimmy!” hung over the doorway to the skate park. Lundqvist, sporting a playoff beard (in December) that reeked of disappointment, wore a smile for the first time since his mandatory leave began. His eyes lit up seeing the joy in the children’s faces when they looked up to him like he was a hero. Lundqvist signed jerseys, pucks, and pictures for everyone at the rink. “Those square slices of pizza look gross, but they weren’t so bad” Lundqvist was overheard saying during the meal.
After dinner Jimmy’s parents set up a hockey goal and the kids started skating around and shooting at the net. Jimmy ran over to Henrik, “Mr. Lundqvist, do you think you could be goalie for us?” Lundqvist agreed and hopped into net. The first couple shot attempts Lundqvist playfully let passed into net. Then, Jimmy’s older brother Brent, an avid New Jersey Devils fan, started to mock Lundqvist. Brent skated down the ice deked right and put the puck in the net behind a more concentrated Lundqvist. “HA! The Rangers Stink!” screamed Brent as openly mocked Lundqvist. A little more serious now, Lundqvist tempted him to “try that again.” Brent skated down the ice and wrists the puck through the 5-hole. “Two in a row, Go Devils!” Brent cheered as he skated around to grab another puck. Brent skates behind the net and tries to put in a wrap around when Lundqvist bodies him to the ice. As Brent struggled to make it back to his feet. Lundqvist, now aware of the fact that he just knocked a 12 year old boy to the ice, helped him up. “You okay, kid?” Lundqvist asked. “Throw your hate onto the ice, because this kid just got a hat trick,” Brent replied with a smirk painted across his face. Lundqvist appeared shell shocked. This 12-year-old boy had gotten the best of him not once, but three times. It was at this time, that Lundqvist’s agent tried to take him off the ice. Lundqvist had that competitive drive in his eyes. He refused to back down. He slammed his stick to the ice and taunted Brent to keep shooting. Brent happily obliged. Slapshot, wrister to the top shelf, and a backhander right passed Lundqvist’s outstretched glove. Brent celebrated as if he had just won the Stanley Cup. Brent continuously mocked Lundqvist to the point where tears started to swell in his eyes. Once one of NHL’s greatest goalies, Lundqvist sat on the ice a mere shadow of what he used to be. As Lundqvist sat on the ice dejected, Brent skated over and poured a random concoction of soft drink over his head. Just then a rage appeared in Lundqvist’s eyes, he picked up the hockey net and flung it across the ice. Lundqvist went on a rampage. He smashed presents, screamed at kids, and cried hysterically when Savage Garden came on the radio. Security promptly detained Lundqvist and escorted him off the property. Before he got back into his car, Lundqvist took one last look at Jimmy and Brent’s family and said, “Your kids are ugly, Brent is a turd, and the pizza sucked!”
Disclaimer: Since this article went to press Lundqvist is 3-0-0 with a .967 save %. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom to get back on track.