Why Henrik Lundqvist is a Hall of Fame lock

Justin Cuthbert and Julian McKenzie explain why the New York Rangers legend's failure to win a Stanley Cup won't cost him a place in the Hall of Fame.

Video Transcript

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: More big news from this-- I don't know what big news, but like a big event, it seemed, with all the celebrities involved-- was Henrik Lundqvist getting his number 30 raised to the rafters at Madison Square Gardens. It's a pretty, pretty huge thing to get your number, your name raised permanently in the rafters of one of the most famous stadiums, arguably, the most famous stadium in all of North America.

So a-- quite a distinction and a worthy honor surely for Henrik Lundqvist despite him leaving a little bit in terms of, like, not winning that Stanley Cup and not getting the success that we all thought he might be able to do or have with the New York Rangers, but still a franchise legend. I'm wondering what comes to your mind first when you think and reflect on Henrik Lundqvist.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah. The fact that he doesn't have that cup is the very-- the first thing I think of. And that's a goalie who I think of when he was in his era. I think there are a lot of people who would make the argument that he was the best of the last, maybe, 15-16 years. Some people would, obviously, put him up against Carey Price for that honor. But this is a guy who's been good for quite some time. And at the very least, even if he doesn't have that Stanley Cup, he still has a gold medal.

Could you imagine if he had gone through the career that he had and he didn't achieve any of that success internationally? It would be quite a shame. At the very least, and this would just be me, if I don't have a Stanley Cup, but I at least have a gold medal and we all know it came in that 06 Olympics, that's a pretty good consolation prize. I don't know about you. I feel the Olympics, we-- I think hockey players, I think, especially, those who have, you know, they come from Europe.

I think they really value that international success and putting on for their country, whether it's a World Championship or an Olympic gold medal. And at least for Henrik Lundqvist, if he can't win that Stanley Cup, having that honor at least will help with his legacy. But this is a guy who is just the backstop for the New York Rangers as long as he was. He really should have gotten that cup. It's a shame. But definitely one of the best, if not the best goalie of the era that we've seen over the last how many years. And he absolutely deserves to have his number retired by the Rangers.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Yeah. When I think about him, it's heartbreak before greatness, honestly. Like, that's what I think about first. It's the loss to the Kings and the Stanley Cup Final. I think that was 2015 or 2014 I guess it was because the Kings--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: 2014 because the Kings-- they lost-- they beat the Canadians to get to that final.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Yeah. Yeah. It's-- you know, it's losses in the Conference Final. Like, they were there year after year and they just couldn't win. And I remember him just sprawled out on the ice, like, that is my lasting memory of Henrik Lundqvist is him sort of sprawled out, while Alec Martinez was celebrating that, I believe, overtime goal it would have to be if there was that immediate five--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: He came five. Yeah. Exactly.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: But you're right. You know, I heard immediately, like, easy Hall of Famer. And when I heard that, I was like, really? Easy? Like, first ballot, no problem. Like, I don't think of him as like Hasek or all the legendary goalies that have got in at least recently. But you're right, it's the international resume. It's easy to forget because, like, he only has the one Vezina. He did not win the Cup. He doesn't have a Hart Trophy like Carey Price has.

But when you look back at what he's done internationally, that gold medal, I mean, that's worth the same as a Stanley Cup, honestly, when we're talking about the Hockey Hall of Fame. Also, won a World Championship like 10 years later. Remember, William Nylander jumping into his arms. I think he got a silver medal at the Olympics too. I think they lost in the final. Yeah. Because Nick Backstrom, the cough medicine or whatever--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah. Because he couldn't play.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: --in 2014.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: So Henrik Lundqvist had--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: That was a great suspension.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: He has-- Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Definitely weird. He's had unbelievable success on the international stage, unbelievable success as, you know, a regular season, even a playoff goaltender, just a very successful goaltender through and through. He just didn't get that Stanley Cup. And that's going to be the first thing that comes to mind for me. But, you know, I think everyone's first reaction is right, he deserves to go to the Hall of Fame.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah. And, yeah, great-- you could even say greatest goalie in Rangers history too. I know he didn't win that cup, but--

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: I would say so.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: He broke-- Well, then again, I guess if we're--

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Richter's number is up there. There's one more too, I forget, way back when like-- it's hard to--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: John Vanbiesbrouck?

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: No. No. No. Like a 1940s guy.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: OK. Yeah. Oh, god, I feel bad not being up on my 1940s--

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: No. I mean, it might not be 1940s. It's just like, Richter's the closest comparable.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Exactly. But, yeah, not to mention, I'm surprised we did not mention this at all when it comes to Henrik Lundqvist. But in terms of the style game that he brought to the league, I think he-- we have to give him his props when it comes to NHL players. I understand that a lot of them like to dress the same way and it's not necessarily that imaginative. But at least he looked damn good doing it, like, I'll give him that. He was-- It was very smooth.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: I will say, like, one of his best or biggest accomplishments might be, like, reaching celebrity status without being like an outlandish, ridiculous figure. Like, he never said anything or did anything, you know, beyond what would be professional. And yet, he's in the circles of John McEnroe, and Eli Manning, and Jimmy Fallon. Like, he is a legitimate New York celebrity. And he got that through, you know, I think his, like, vibe and persona.

But I think he achieved that through just like being a cool person rather than being someone who's out there wild in, and then partying, and saying crazy things, and just being a part of that scene. Like, he's in the club that you can't get into or you don't know about because it's only for cool dudes.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: And he looked good doing it too. I'm telling you, man. Just the good looks, if he look like some schlub, no way is he getting all those endorsement deals, or getting the nice suits, and all that. Like, who cares? Like, nah. The dude looks good. You've got to look good to hang out with those celebrities in New York. And he was able to do that. There was this, like, one time I went to Madison Square Garden for a Knicks game against the Mavericks.

And he's like sitting on the floor, and like, they put his face on the jumbotron and everyone, obviously, loses their minds because it's Henrik Lundquist. Like, he's that dude. He's the King. Also, Justin Bieber was at that game and everybody booed him. It was insane.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Wow. Maybe we should take some cues from the King and, you know, we're both wearing t-shirts, and hats, and haven't shaved and groomed ourselves. Look at the success he's having. And, oh, we're doing OK. We're doing OK.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I think we do OK.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: We're in our basements and rooms right now, and it's, you know--

JULIAN MCKENZIE: I can get a suit if you want.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: It's not the same.

JULIAN MCKENZIE: Like, it's nothing. I could just get a suit. It's no big deal. And like, I haven't shaved my face in like a long-- I mean, I've kind of trim. I've had a barber like trim my beard, I guess. But like I'm not getting rid of the facial hair. I'm sorry, mom. My mom hates it.

JUSTIN CUTHBERT: Does she? I've gone through that with my family as well. But they've now reached the acceptance stage, which is great.