Lundqvist admits Rangers losing Girardi, Stepan hurts on ‘a personal level’

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Henrik Lundqvist said that he understands that hockey is a business. Every summer, you say goodbye to guys who put their bodies on the line to keep pucks out of your net.

Even so, “King Henrik” told the New York Post via email that, while changes are just a part of life in the NHL, losing the likes of Dan Girardi (via buyout) and Derek Stepan (more on him here) stings more than most tweaks.

“You expect changes every year because that’s just part of the business we’re in, but this summer has been a little different because of the magnitude of the moves,” Lundqvist told Larry Brooks. “Losing guys that you have played with for so long will obviously affect you on a personal level.”

The Girardi move had to hurt the most.

It’s difficult to estimate how many shots Girardi blocked for Lundqvist during a decade with the Rangers, playing 788 regular-season and 122 playoff games. Even by the off chance that Lundqvist could tell that his teammate was regressing – a questionable thought for someone with such a personal view of the action – this is a guy he’s gotten very close with.

One also wonders if it reminds Lundqvist that, hey, his hockey career won’t last forever.

At 35, Lundqvist’s enjoyed plenty of personal and international success, and the Rangers have enjoyed some deep playoff runs. That Stanley Cup eludes him, however, and now he’ll seek that goal without someone who’s become a friend.

It’s understandable that Lundqvist feels forlorn about this, even if parting with Girardi ranks as a wise decision for the Rangers.

For more on that, and how Lundqvist is preparing the same as usual even with Antti Raanta out, check out Brooks’ story in the New York Post.