When Henrik Lundqvist left New York for Sweden three weeks ago, many figured he’d soon be playing in the Swedish Elite League.
Yet as of Thursday, he was still without a club — and antsy about the lack of work.
“Nothing has changed. I’m not going to play for Frolunda unless things change,” Lundqvist told the New York Post about joining his hometown club. “The longer I have to wait, obviously the more I want to join my brother [Joel] on Frolunda, but right now I’m sitting tight.”
(That would be Lundqvist’s identical twin brother, Joel. That’s right, ladies — there are two of ’em.)
Much of Lundqvist’s frustration comes from the Swedish league’s reluctance to sign locked-out NHLers.
Even though an anti-trust ruling by the Swedish Competition Committee forced the SEL to allow the signings of such players, teams haven’t exactly jumped at the opportunity.
Matt Duchene, Viktor Stalberg and Alex Steen are the only prominent signings thus far, with Swedish stars like Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Backstrom opting to join other leagues.
This trend sent Lundqvist into a Twitter frenzy on Wednesday:
“Trying to understand why the Swedish hockey league is the only league in the world which doesn’t want to see NHL players give back to the clubs which raised them.”
“Seeing many of our best players all around Europe and not in Sweden is for me personally a sign of weakness, not strength.”
“Is the NHL strike really a problem for the Elite League or should it be viewed as a glorious opportunity instead?”
If he’s unable to latch on with Frolunda, it’s going to be awfully curious to see how Lundqvist reacts to such an extended break once NHL play resumes.
Though he’s coming off arguably the finest year of his career, he’s also now on the wrong side of 30 and hasn’t played a competitive game since May 25.