With one historic playoff performance, goalie Henrik Lundqvist is headed to the Stanley Cup. After a shutout effort in the NHL Eastern Conference Final, Lundqvist became the all-time New York Rangers leader in playoff wins (42), making 18 stops Thursday night, and he leads his team to its first Stanley Cup appearance since 1994. When Men’s Fitness caught up with Lundqvist toward the end of the regular season, he pulled no punches about his year-round training routine and playoff aspirations. Check out this exclusive interview about how “The King” trained to get in Stanley Cup shape.
Men’s Fitness: What were some lessons you learned from the Olympics?
Henrik Lundqvist: Enjoy the moment. You don’t get that many opportunities to represent your country in the Olympics. This is my third one and I felt very lucky. It was so exciting to be there. We do play under a lot of pressure but I think it is important to try and enjoy the moment. Because it was a nine-hour difference, it was important to get sleep early on to get into the proper time rhythm. The transition for me was pretty good. I felt like I got into the rhythm fast, which helped me perform on the ice.
What are a goalie’s main strengths on the ice?
We are all built differently. Some guys are more powerful. Some guys are very tall. I’m not very tall so I rely on quickness. I look at myself physically, I’m not superstrong or superfast but on the ice it so much about technique. You have to put in a lot of hours on the ice to work on technique, repeat things, memorize them in your brain so that in the game it just happens without thinking.
What is your training routine like throughout the year?
Since we play every second day, a lot of times it is more about recovery than actually training hard. In the summer, we work out a lot harder in the gym, go running and biking, and I like to play a lot of tennis. Tennis is really good for my game. Tennis is good for me because you get the quickness and movement from side to side and is similar to how I move on the ice. That is really something I picked up within the last four to five years.
Run me through a typical training day during the season.
During the season, we will do squats and core strengthening in the gym. You get to the rink, stretch for 10-15 minutes, go on the ice 20 minutes before practice starts and do goalie drills, practice for an hour then stay on the ice for about 10-15 minutes to do extra shooting. After practice, if you feel like you have the energy and you’re not playing the next day you might do squats, jumps, situps, pushups, and other exercises in the gym.
What is one piece of training advice you would give any aspiring hockey player?
If it’s on the ice, I think it’s about quality, not quantity. Being out there for a long time doesn’t help you if you don’t have quality. I’d rather go short and go really hard then go two hours and not be focused. Quality when you practice is really important.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
We have about 20 games left and the goal is to make it into the playoffs and go for a good run. We want to win. That’s our ultimate goal this year. It’s going to be a great challenge for us but I think it’s a realistic goal.