2006-09-15 / Sports

With Migraines in Check and a Healed Hip, Lundqvist is Ready For Camp to Start

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist

By Joe McDonald
Sports Columnist

GREENBURGH, NY - It wasn't just the hip-flexor, nor the fatigue from playing in the Olympics that hindered Henrik Lundqvist last season. The Rangers' rising star goalie also suffered from migraine headaches, which he says occurred as the playoffs started.

"It was something that showed up there after I was injured," Lundqvist said after an option practice at the MSG training facility. "We did some tests and found out it was from grinding teeth."

The 24 year-old said he was taking medication for the problem and since the headaches are brought on by tension in his sleep, he is also wearing a mouth guard to ease any grinding.

It should help, because Lundqvist was a different player after he came back at the end of the regular season. Admitting that the migraines may have affected him on the ice, the goalie hopes the condition won't continue as training camp starts on Thursday.

"I had it for a long time -the whole summer," he said. "But now, it's getting better."

The team is hoping that the Vezina Trophy finalist is also felly healed from the hip-flexor injury. Lundqvist said his hip did bother him for a few months after the season ended, but he is fully healthy now.

"I felt it for a long time," he said. "It felt pretty good in July, but when I started skating, I felt it. Then after two weeks, it felt good. I still have to do things with my back to make it feel good."

Arriving in New York four weeks ago, Lundqvist has skated regularly under Rangers' supervision and felt not ill effects, but will still have to wait for actual games to start to be fully sure.

Said Lundqvist: "Practice is practice, but I have been out there and it feels good. You need the games, and I need three four five games, before it feels right."

The team will know right away if they are getting the goalie, who had 2.24 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in 53 regular-season games or the one that showed a 4.40 GAA and an .835 save percentage in the playoffs.

"I felt that my game was not there where it should have been," Lundqvist said about his playoff performance. "There were a lot of things that were not on our side, but it felt like we lost a lot of momentum. We tried really hard."

No matter what happens on the ice, there will be a different look to the goalie this season. He sported a redesigned mask in practice, which features two Statue of Liberty heads - one on each side - the word 'Rangers' across each bottom and No. 30 on the chin.

"I had a similar mask back in Sweden, but there, I had an Indian on each side," Lundqvist said. "I really like this." The mask also sports interlocking Swedish and American flags on the back with the skyline of New York City with the words, "New York. The Heart of the U.S.A."

So, with his new faceguard in tow, migraines in check and a hip flexor no longer bothering him, the young goalie seems to be ready for a new season.

"We have a lot of good goalies here and I have to work hard to keep my spot," Lundqvist said. "I am looking forward to getting started on Thursday. When it starts, it goes fast."

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