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Despite headaches, Lundqvist kept playing

Mar 29, 2013, 11:10 AM EDT

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers prepares to tend net against the New Jersey Devils in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2012 in New York City. The Devils defeated the Rangers 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Getty Images

With all the talk of concussions in sports today, anytime a player — especially a prominent one — complains of headaches, it’s going to raise eyebrows.

That goes double when the player keeps playing.

Such has been the case with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

From the Daily News:

On March 19, Lundqvist said he had headaches and his neck hurt after Dan Girardi‘s elbow inadvertently snapped the goaltender’s head back in a 3-2 road win over the New Jersey Devils. On Sunday, Lundqvist was dazed from a slap shot off the mask by Capitals forward Mike Ribeiro in a 3-2 home shootout loss to Washington.

Then on Tuesday night, after Lundqvist headbutted a first-period slap shot by Flyers forward Brayden Schenn but still made 32 saves in a 5-2 win in Philadelphia, the goaltender volunteered this information: “I didn’t feel great … The last two days, I have been feeling a little off.”

Asked if he were ailing mentally or physically, Lundqvist elaborated: “It was just my head. I was just thinking if the shot bothered me, got little headaches, then I felt better, but it was still bad. You build up something. It’s just mental. You have to put it aside and tell yourself, ‘You’re fine. Go out and play,’ and after five or ten minutes, you start to feel better.”

Lundqvist played last night, stopping 26 of 28 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Senators in Ottawa. He said he felt “good” going into his ninth straight start.

“I just had a couple days there where I felt a little off,” he said.

Given their tenuous grasp on the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers can’t afford to lose their most important player at this time —  a fact that will only lead to more conjecture that Lundqvist has been playing when maybe he should have been resting.

The Rangers take on the Canadiens Saturday in Montreal.

  1. mattybo - Mar 29, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Nothing to do with henrik but this year is just a nightmare with gaboriks and Richards lack of consistent output. If we hadnt picked up Nash and had his scoring and general carrying of any line he is on we would be at the bottom. We’ve tried bringing up basically every player imaginable and just can’t get it in the net 90% of games and are horrid at the blue line.

    SIGH

    • jkay1818 - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      absolutely, the biggest joke are the fans who whine about getting nash and how he is ruining the chemistry. Can you imagine how bad they would be without him? they miss prust a lot more than dubinsky or anisimov. Last yr they were a tough, nasty team. Bickel, prust, rupp, sauer when healthy, john scott i am missing a tough guy or two, but you get the point. Now they have no one. Tortorella needs to be blamed mostly. Last yr they had grinders, outhit and abused opponents, played a physical style. Now they have more finesse players, players coming into their own like hagelin, stepan,etc. Torts, with the addition of nash, these guys emerging, richards and gaborik is still playing the same grinding, forecheck style. Give me a break. when they got him, they said he played a loose flying game, unlike renney, but hes been worse. He isnt letting any of these guys do their thing out there.

      • blackfoot11 - Mar 29, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        I agree with your assessment of the Rangers. As an outside observer, it seems that Torts has most of the players wound up and affraid to make a mistake, while Callahan, Nash, Stephan to name a few, are the exceptions. I think Torts need to give some slack on the reigns and allow his players to create and be flexible within his schemes.

      • stakex - Mar 29, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        I agree with some of that, but theres a slight problem.

        Every time the Rangers do open it up and play a little more run and gun…. they still struggled to score and end up getting run over. Last night was a perfect example. While down 1-0, they were playing a more open, attack style of hockey and what happened? They poured it on, had some great chances, still couldn’t score, and instead they gave up another goal that was a nail in the coffin. No matter how they play right now, they can’t score… so I really don’t blame Torts for playing a more restraint style of play right now.

        I know the argument is that if they open it up more, they will score more. However, when they do open it up more that hasn’t been the case. Guys still need to finish no matter what style you are playing… and the Rangers are not finishing right now. So playing a safer, more defensive style isn’t a terrible idea… at least until some of their guys start breaking out of their slump.

    • stakex - Mar 29, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      Richards is the one that botheres me the most to be honest. Gaborik has always been very hot, and very cold… so theres not much shock about his vanishing act this year. Richards however is suppose to be a consistent, solid 1st line center who can be the corner stone of a team… and hes been even more of a no show then Gaborik. He might as well be playing on the 4th line because hes useless out there.

  2. imleftcoast - Mar 29, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    I don’t know how anyone could play goalie at that level with a concussion – it’s hard to get out of bed. On 24/7, Lundqvists seemed like a bright guy, and it could just be a pinched nerve or back alignment issue.

    Meanwhile, the third best goalie in the league sits on the Canucks bench, and they desperately need forwards and prospects.

  3. chanceoffleury1 - Mar 29, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    It’s all fun and games until the most beautiful man in hockey’s brain turns to mush. In all seriousness, hope he’s alright. Never ceases to amaze me how dumb some of these players/organizations can be. No game is worth costing a player his entire quality of life. The fact these players think it’s okay to keep playing even when they know they might be injured just proves how uneducated they really are about the possible effects of playing with an injury like a concussion.

    • nicknyhc - Mar 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

      Says the guy with a Marc-Andre Fluery screen name. Pens fans just amaze me.

      • chanceoffleury1 - Mar 30, 2013 at 1:45 AM

        First, I’m a girl.

        Second, Fleury never had a concussion and was pulled from the third period and the next game as a precaution because the Pens wanted to make sure he was 100%. He practiced yesterday and they still pulled Zatkoff up for the game to backup Vokoun.

      • nicknyhc - Mar 30, 2013 at 3:11 AM

        My point is so many fans are complete hypocrites when it comes to this subject.

        Fleury gets hurt from getting hit in the head on a VERY similar play involving his own defenseman hitting him in the head. He decides to sit for a game or two and then comes back despite not being 100%. As a Penguins fan you pat him on the back and applaud him for sucking it up and being a trooper and sacrificing for the team.

        Lundqvuist plays through the same type of injury without ever being officially diagnosed with a concussion and you shake your head and accuse him of being uneducated and call the Rangers organization dumb for allowing it.

        Its funny how your opinion does a complete 180 when your favorite team isn’t involved. Your goalie is awesome for playing through injuries, rival teams’ goalies are wrong/stupid/uneducated for playing through injuries.

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