Henrik Lundqvist tries to move on from Stanley Cup loss
When it was all over, Henrik Lundqvist was left on the ice lying flat on his stomach, face down, as the Kings celebrated a double-overtime goal in Game 5 and a Stanley Cup championship against the Rangers.
Eventually, the Rangers' star goalie got up. Getting over it wasn't easy, though.
"It took me a while. I still think about it," Lundqvist said Sunday at Chelsea Piers while taking a break from leading the Citi Henrik Lundqvist Hockey ProCamp that he has run for three years.
"Being that close, when you work for that long, to get to that moment, it's a lot of disappointment," he added. "It's an empty feeling when the season ends like that."
This offseason, he said, he slowly started appreciating the good times the Rangers experienced and the fact they reached the finals despite a poor start.
Recently, the loss has begun to serve as motivation heading into this season.
"You also use it as motivation moving forward," Lundqvist said, "because you want to be in that position again and you want to make sure you win."
No longer dejected from the sting of defeat, Lundqvist expressed excitement when asked what the Rangers could accomplish this season. "I have a good feeling about this team," he said.
The Rangers will return most of their core, though Dan Boyle, Tanner Glass and Lee Stempniak were added, and Brian Boyle, Brad Richards and Anton Stralman departed.
"I'm excited to see the new guys and what they can bring to the team," Lundqvist said.
Lundqvist described last season's first couple of months as a transitional period under Alain Vigneault, in his first year as Rangers coach. The team lost seven of their first 10. Lundqvist struggled early, with a 12-16-3 record, a .907 save percentage and a 2.76 goals-against average.
Though Lundqvist finished the regular season with a .920 save percentage and a 2.36 GAA and played great during the playoffs, he does not want to suffer another slow start.
"It's important when you come into this season [that] you just focus on October and the first few games," Lundqvist said. "You can't think about the playoffs and say, 'OK, we're going to have another great run.' There's so much work ahead of you before you even get to that point."
To return to the Stanley Cup finals, Lundqvist said, it's imperative for the Rangers to "mentally start over."
"You can't think about last year, what we did or the experience we had -- it's over," Lundqvist said. "You start over now. You can't expect to live on what happened last year."