Henrik Lundqvist officially signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Washington Capitals on Friday. The King was really excited.
One of the reasons: Lundqvist will not have to face Alex Ovechkin in an actual game next season.
Ovechkin and Lundqvist both debuted in the NHL during the 2005-06 season. Ovechkin scored 52 goals and tallied 106 points, winning the Calder Trophy. Lundqvist finished fourth in voting for the award.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Lundqvist said. “It’s been so many years of battles and I have so much respect for (Ovi) for what he’s accomplished. He’s one of the toughest players to stop. There’s no way around it. You look at his record. It speaks for itself. It’s been so much fun to go up against him for so many years.”
Fun is one word to describe it. Ovechkin has scored 24 different times on Lundqvist during his illustrious career – more than any other goaltender except Marc-Andre Fleury. Ovechkin has also dented the twine 13 times in five playoff series against Lundqvist’s Rangers.
Here are a few of those sensational goals.
“It was funny to call him the other day,” Lundqvist said, who described Ovechkin as a character. “The one thing I told him was, I’m not going to do any one-timer drills with him. His shot is just way too hard. I already put myself out of that one.”
In the past, Holtby and Ovechkin had a similar agreement while Ilya Samsonov was not as lucky.
Ahead of signing with the Capitals, Lundqvist admitted that he spoke to Ovechkin and former Swedish teammates Nicklas Backstrom (Olympics) and Carl Hagelin (Rangers).
“They all say it’s a tight group, a great group of guys,” Lundqvist said. “I heard that even before I signed. I heard a lot of good things about the group but also talking to the guys. They’ve been through a lot together and you grow as a group when you go through all the things they’ve been through. Also, they have an older group. Experienced group. That really attracted me.”
But yeah, not facing Ovechkin is also a nice consolation prize.
“They have so many skilled players,” Lundqvist said. “But obviously, Ovi, with all the years playing against him, I definitely look forward to being on the same side as him.”
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