Henrik Lundqvist played through a sprained knee ligament during the World Championships last month and won’t skate until early August in Sweden before reporting to training camp in September.
The Rangers’ No. 1 goaltender, 35, who won four games to help Team Sweden capture the gold medal, appeared to have suffered the injury during Sweden’s semifinal victory over Finland. He told Sport-Express, a Swedish newspaper, that he played in pain during the final game, a 2-1 shootout victory over Team Canada.
“He suffered an isolated MCL sprain that he was able to play through in the championship game,” a Rangers spokesman told Newsday on Saturday. “We don’t expect any disruption with his summer preparation / training and also expect no issues going forward.”
Lundqvist, who made 42 saves and stopped all four shootout attempts in the game, said he will rest for four to six weeks before returning to the ice.
Days after the Rangers were eliminated in six games by the Ottawa Senators in the second round of the playoffs, he left New York for Europe to play for Sweden, captained by his twin brother Joel, who invited him to the tournament.
In a translation of the article, Lundqvist said that on the morning of the gold-medal game in Cologne on May 21, “I did not think I could play; we did several treatments and I was in pain. Then we tested a syringe [injection] to see if the pain would disappear . . . Without the syringe, it was very bad . . . The first half of the game went well, but then it got worse when the effect began to disappear. But I was just glad I could play. I knew I did not do anything that would worsen my knee. So it was about defying the pain.”
After the game, Lundqvist was knocked on his back in the goal crease by a flying leap from celebrating teammate William Nylander, a Toronto Maple Leafs forward.
Lundqvist, who statistically had a subpar season (31-20-4, 2.74 goals-against-average, .910 save percentage) given his accomplishments over the past 11 years, has four seasons remaining on his seven-year contract worth $59.5 million.