Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers makes a save...

Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers makes a save against the Dallas Stars. (Dec. 13, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Henrik Lundqvist’s appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week is a Rangers rarity, marking the first time a member of the team has been so honored since a retiring Wayne Gretzky on April 26, 1999. (Gretzky made 12 appearances overall, the most for any hockey player. Overall, 77 SI covers have featured hockey.)

King Henrik and Gretzky are two of eight Rangers to make the cover, beginning with Andy Bathgate on Jan. 12, 1959. The only Rangers goaltenders other than Lundqvist were Eddie Giacomin, on March 2, 1970, and Mike Richter, on June 20, 1994.

The rest of the Rangers’ cover boys: Rod Gilbert (Jan. 30, 1967), Pete Stemkowski (May 6, 1974), Mark Messier (June 13, 1994) and Messier and Gretzky together (Oct. 7, 1996).

Lundqvist’s cover appeared on a regional basis, in 10 Eastern markets. Masters winner Bubba Watson got the nod in the rest of the country.

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