Blueshirt Banter's Exclusive Interview With Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist talks to some of the goalies in his camp. - Chris Montgomery | Long Island Image

We caught up with Henrik Lundqvist at

This past Saturday and Sunday New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was taking part in a two-day camp for boys and girls ages 7 to 15 at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn. Citi Private Pass was the primary sponsor for the event.

If you want a little more information about why Citi was involved in a camp with Lundqvist:

Citi Private Pass offers Citi credit and debit card customers access to the best in sports, live music, dining and family entertainment through special presales, access and VIP experiences. For sports fans, Citi Private Pass offers a range of opportunities for kids and adults to train and play alongside the pros and enjoy exclusive access, including athlete clinics and meet and greet luncheons.

I didn't know this, but Citi Private Pass does clinics with all different kinds of athletes. In fact, Carmelo Anthony did one this summer through Citi as well. If you want more information on the clinics they've done, you can find it here: Citiprivatepass.com.

I watched the event and was really impressed with the way Lundqvist handled himself. He seemed to be everywhere at once. He gave each group the time of day, patiently took photos with each group and even took the time to speak to each kid at the camp.

Below is the transcribed version of my Q and A with him. It was more of a lighthearted interview than anything else, so don't expect anything on his current contract negotiations.

Anyway, here we go:

Q: How important for you is it to [take part in these camps] and what do you get out of doing something like this?

A: I've been running a goalie camp for almost nine years now in Sweden and I really enjoy it. It's a lot of fun. Especially with the young kids to see how excited they get whey they're out here. And then last year I got an opportunity to run a camp here in the States with Pro Camps and I just rally enjoy it.

I see myself in a lot of these kids, the inspiration and the excitement to come here. I remember when I was a kid how much fun it was when I would go to the camps and work hard.

Q: What does it mean for you to see someone like Citi come in and sponsor something like this for you?

A: When you do camps or other big events you need great support and Citi has been a big part of it this year and last year. They really give me an opportunity to make it work. We need a lot of people working with us and without Citi it would be tough.

Q: Does doing this camp help scratch that hockey itch that has to be coming since we're coming towards the end of the offseason?

A: Yeah, coming back -- I spend my summers in Sweden -- coming back in late August every year you start getting excited. You want to get going and get back into your routines. It's nice to get a break during the summer but when you come back in August you miss the game and you want to get going. So this is helping that a little.

Q: Things are a little different this offseason, there's obviously no lockout and the team has a new coach, are there any changes to the way you're preparing for the upcoming season?

A: Well last year was different compared to any year I had with the lockout. But this year is similar to the years I've had before, you go in with the same mindset. You want to reach the highest level you can to help the team win. I always put the same amount of pressure on myself to try and do well. I'm just excited to get going again. It's going to be fun.

Q: Have you had an opportunity to talk to Alain Vigneault yet?

A: No, I haven't met him yet. We're going to have a meeting soon when he comes back into town. I look forward to getting to know him and seeing what he can do with the team.

Q: The team has gotten really close to a Cup the past couple of years and now you have a new coach coming in to get you guys over that lip. Does it get more competitive for you guys now since you are closer?

A: I think the last few years we've gotten closer and closer to where we want to be. As a team as well I think two years ago we did a lot of good things. This year was a little different, coming into the lockout. We had high expectations and things didn't turn out as well as we had hoped. I believe we have a good team here and that's exciting too. It's exciting to feel like you have a chance to win, it's a tough challenge to do it but it's my biggest dream and my biggest goal. That's what gets me going.

Q: You recently tweeted a picture of your smaller pads. Have you had a chance to practice with them yet?

A: Yeah, we're going with the shorter pads this year. It's different. These sized pads are probably something I used when I was 16 or 17. It's just something you have to get used to. I think for all the goalies in the league it's going to be an adjustment and it's just something we all have to get used to.

Q: What are you most excited for?

A: I'm just excited to be back and start playing. I love the game and I love competing. It's nice to have the summer break, go home and see friends and family, but to come back and feel that adrenaline to try to win every night. That's something that really excites me.

Q: You just had a baby girl (quick note: she's actually one) is it different trying to be a dad and a hockey player?

A: I think it gives you perspective a lot of times. When you deal with the pressure and expectations it might help you to understand that even though hockey is my life and it's super important to me, it can help me bring it down a notch and not put too much pressure on myself and realize there's more to life than hockey. There's moments when it feels like hockey is everything and it's something you learn to deal with over the years to have pressure on yourself. And I think especially as a goalie that's a key to success, how you deal with expectations, and it helps.

Q: Who is the funniest person in the locker room?

A: [Thinking] Who is the funniest person? Zuccarello is pretty funny.

Q: His twitter feed has been pretty funny.

A: Yeah, you never know what's coming from him. He's a guy who is always up to something but he's always bringing smiles to the guys in the locker rooms, so you have to give him credit for that.

Q: Does anyone play pranks on you?

A: Oh yeah, it happens. I bought a new car, this is six or seven years ago, and I lost my keys but actually they moved my car and I thought it was stolen. It was after a golf tournament. A few guys on the team did it. I wasn't too excited when it happened, it took me five or ten minutes to realize it was a big joke.

Q: What was your best prank?

A: Oh, I don't know if I can give it out. That's part of playing hockey and being on the team. You just try to make guys smile. Sometimes guys go at you hard and you have to let them pay sometimes. I think that's what makes team sports so special. You have good times together both on the ice and off the ice.

Q: Talk to me a little about your Crown Collection and why it's so important to you.

Note: The Crown Collection is specially branded Lundqvist items that have the number "30" inside of a crown. You've probably seen the items around the Garden. Anyway, Lundqvist sells those items to raise money for charity. See the items here (and also see Lundqvist be a model for said items -- win win).

A: Well I used it on my equipment for a few years and a few years back I decided to start Crown Collection. And we've started selling T-Shirts and hats. It's very basic right now but it's still raising money for charity and if I can use my name for something good in that aspect then I want to. We sell it at the Garden for fans and hopefully they enjoy it but it raises money for a great cause, too.

That's it. Thoughts?

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