My Dearest Henrik,
From the very beginning of my interest in hockey, you instantly became one of my favorite players. And I feel blessed that, though I missed your early career, I truly got to see the best of you.
One of the things that made you an immediate favorite for me is that you had successfully established yourself as one of the league’s most revered goaltenders after being selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, 205th overall.
Year after year, I watched you serve as a steady force — a team member who left everything he had on the ice. Always, always just so consistent (even in those games where you got shelled with 40+ shots on goal).
Night after night, I would watch you make stellar saves, keep your teammates in games, and help carry teams to victory. It didn’t matter if it was an exhibition game in a bubble in Toronto or a elimination game at a packed Madison Square Garden; you would be the same old Hank coming up with those big stops when your team needed them most.
Speaking of the postseason, can we talk about your playoff stats? You are arguably the most consistent Game 7 goaltenders in modern history.
In your 15 years as a New York Ranger, you made 117 playoff appearances and recorded an average .916 save percentage in this multitude of games (Evolving Hockey). Even more impressive is that in the eight career Game 7s you played in, you hold a .961 save percentage and have a goals against average of just 1.11 (Corsica Hockey).
Man, it’s just hard to imagine the New York Rangers without you.
It is hard to imagine New York City without you!
Beyond just doing good on the ice, you made a valuable impact on the community in one of the largest cities in the world. Whether donating your time or your resources, you helped improve the lives of fans and of every day New Yorkers alike, especially when it came to those in need.
It kills me that you are leaving New York without that Stanley Cup victory you so deserve. Whatever is to come, I hope you get that chance.
You inspired a generation of young hockey fans. You showed them what it means to be an athlete of the highest skill who is a good player, a good teammate, a good citizen and a good man.
I will miss you more than any words can express.
See you when 30 goes to the rafters and again at the Hall Of Fame induction!
Love you 4ever <3