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King Henrik returns to New York City

Jan 2, 2013, 10:22 PM EDT

Henrik Lundqvist wasn’t trying to make any bold statements about the lockout ending when he announced his plans to leave Sweden for New York City on New Year’s day:

Lundqvist spent much of the lockout in Sweden, even though he never made the full measure to actually play hockey overseas during the lockout.

Instead, he’s been holding out hope that the work stoppage would come to an end. It’s tough to blame him, too.

For one thing, the New York Rangers bolstered an Atlantic Division-winning lineup by trading for Rick Nash. More personally, he’s in the second-to-last year of a big contract, with a notable drop from his 2012-13 salary ($6.875 million) to 2013-14’s $5.125 million takeaway.

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner is 30 years old, so the lockout is eating into a key prime year on a team that could give him the best support of his NHL career.

Here’s hoping he’s indeed coming back to the Big Apple for a good reason – whether Lunqvist and the Rangers end up looking great or not.

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