On October 16th, Henrik Lundqvist announced, via his Twitter account, that he had made the decision not to join Frölunda of Sweden's Elitserien just yet, as he was still waiting to see what was going to happen with the lockout.
A month later, it looks like not much is happening, and Lundqvist is clearly giving a return to Frölunda -- where he spent five years before making his debut with the Rangers -- a little more thought. In fact, he's already commissioned his new mask, should he decide to give the Elitserien an injection of NHL talent. Behold, "Son of Frölunda":
It's impossible to dislike this mask, unless you're begrudging the fact that it will cover Lundqvist's handsome, handsome face.
What a thoughtful mask. Lundqvist's latest head protector is jam-packed with history. The Frölunda Indian dominates the top of the mask, but the side still features the Statue of Liberty that's the Swedish netminder's masks have featured ever since he broke into the league with the Rangers in 2005.
The photo on the left comes from a preseason game during his 2005 debut season.
Here's Dave Gunnarsson, the mask's designer, on what went into this mask:
Together we brainstormed and this design was crystallized in front of our eyes. A totally unique combo of Frölunda Indians and New York Rangers. The Statute of Liberty just as usual on Henrik's masks, this time created in Frölunda colors.
And above it all, the Frölunda Indian is watching with his powerful eyes. The indian on the top is a tribute to Henrik's previous and incredibly popular and classic Frölunda mask we created together back in 2004 with the green base and the indian in gold.
And here's the top of the old mask Gunnarsson is making reference to, juxtaposed with the top of the new one:
It's interesting to note that, until Lundqvist joined the Rangers, he used the Indian head much the same way he uses the Statue of Liberty now: as a big, splashy symbol of his primary allegiance, regardless of where he's playing. Here's a photo of his mask from the 2002 Olympics. You'll note the Frolunda Indian, in a metallic, Swedish blue:
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney