NEW YORK, NY – This city is so great they named it twice – and to get a nickname in this town as an athlete is almost always well-deserved and fitting. You won’t get an argument from me on any of these feted NYC heroes except for one: Henrik “The King” Lundqvist of the New York Rangers. Before all you Blueshirts fans jump down what’s left of my throat, I’m not denying his stature as a world-class elite goaltender but questioning the nickname herein.
I’d rather save the “King” moniker for those undisputed performers, such as Elvis Presley (The King of Rock ‘n Roll), Michael Jackson (The King of Pop), Richard Petty (King of the Road), and LeBron James. In this town, nicknames come with the ultimate of caveats and that is the most important of all to NY sports fans–a championship. This is the main reason why Lundqvist is relegated to second tier status alongside the lovable Don “Donnie Baseball” Mattingly who just missed out on the run of Yankee titles in the 1990’s.
Consider these aliases, as I leave out world champions Walt “Clyde” Frazier and “Broadway Joe” Namath, as the duo was more a lifestyle than ability driven. There was the greatness of Reginald Martinez Jackson or “Reggie” or “Mister October”, “Tom Terrific” Seaver, Dwight “Doc” Gooden, Mariano “Sandman” Rivera, Derek Jeter- “Captain Clutch“, and let’s remember two of the New York Nets ABA champs in the 1970’s: “Super John” Williamson and “Dr. J”, Julius Erving. You can even throw in Earl “The Pearl” Monroe who was part of the ’73 Knicks championship. Henrik Lundqvist, sadly, is none of them. And there’s also harness racing’s Brian Sears as “The Manager” reminds us…
Henrik Lundvist is the winningest goalie in Rangers history. He has also won a Vezina Trophy and Gold Medal for Sweden and is a heartthrob to countless female fans. He will forever leave an indelible mark in NYC with his tireless philanthropy. And the broadcast duo of Sam Rosen and Joe Micheletti need to have Lundqvist’s junk surgically removed from their mouths, as they speak of him as the best of all-time. Furthermore, Steve Valiquette is the only one worth his weight on the MSG network’s hockey coverage. But what has this current Rangers goalie really won? While he is a king of a human being, he is no Stanley Cup winning goalie like Mike Richter as personal awards and global competition just don’t measure up to the most competitive and arduous of all sports trophies–the Stanley Cup.
As the Rangers rebuild and don’t appear to be Stanley Cup contenders anytime soon, Hank has said he still wants to remain a Ranger and should be applauded for wanting to stay for the reconstruction. The Rangers, the organization, and the city owe it to #30 for wanting to see him fill the title of King Elsewhere. I don’t know where that happens in this wide-open NHL post season. I don’t know what you get in return for a 36 year-old netminder with a lot of mileage on his body. What I do know is that Lundqvist deserves that opportunity, even if it’s an unpopular move. But for the time being, Lundvist is the current Don Mattingly of the New York sports scene.
That’s it. Feel free to comment below and come back tomorrow for @ByDJEberle – who wants Mattingly to coach the Bills. You can find us on Twitter – @CheesyBruin & @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00 and Instagram @MeetTheMatts, as well. And don’t forget to like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.