Henrik Lundqvist walked out of the Madison Square Garden tunnel to the booming echoes of his name for the last time.
Making his way down the blue carpet laid out on the ice while gazing up into the sold-out crowd and across the way at all the other retired Rangers he would join shortly, all Lundqvist could do in that moment was touch his heart.
The very heart that needed some repairs and ultimately forced him to step away from the game he loves and to which he has dedicated his life. The heart that came through so fervently every time he took his place between the pipes. The heart that gave it’s all to the New York Rangers.
As Lundqvist later watched his No. 30 float up to the rafters Friday night, joining Rangers giants who were in attendance, such as Brian Leetch, Adam Graves, Mike Richter and Mark Messier, it was as if a piece of his heart went with it.
“When I look back at my 15 years here, what gives me the most satisfaction is not the wins or the personal recognition,” Lundqvist, in a perfectly tailored suit as always, said from the Garden ice. “But it’s really the commitment — the commitment I felt to the New York Rangers.”