Lundqvist exhibits mental strength to excel in playoffs | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaLundqvist exhibits mental strength to excel in playoffs

Posted: Friday, March 9, 2012 | 09:24 AM

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The growth shown in Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in recent years should help him manage his emotions during this year's Stanley Cup playoffs, says Hockey Night in Canada analyst and former NHL goalie Kelly Hrudey. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images) The growth shown in Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in recent years should help him manage his emotions during this year's Stanley Cup playoffs, says Hockey Night in Canada analyst and former NHL goalie Kelly Hrudey. (Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)

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This season, Kelly Hrudey writes about topics that originate with your requests. This week, reader John Dale wonders what it takes to be that goalie who thrives under the pressure of a Stanley Cup playoff run.

This season, Kelly writes about topics that originate with your requests.  The idea is for you to send an e-mail to cbchockeyonline@cbc.ca with a suggestion and Kelly will use that as the basis of his next column. 

Here is this week's suggestion:

Goalies are vital in a playoff run.  What does it take to be the goalie who will excel  under the pressure of a playoff run.  Do you see anyone like that this year? - John Dale

Hey John,

There is so much that goes into playing the position of goalie. While growing up, all the goalies in the NHL separated themselves from the competition by being better in two areas: technique and mental toughness.

All through amateur hockey you see a lot of goalies with only one of those qualities but not the combination.

That's why at the NHL level and, in particular the playoffs, the winning goalies have the ability to make the key save at the right time.

That doesn't always mean in the final seconds of a game like Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins did against Detroit in 2009 because sometimes a goalie can win a game for his team with a spectacular first period.

More than anything, it's who's better at not getting distracted with negative thoughts during a game and a series.

For those reasons I'm really looking to Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers to excel in these playoffs. He has grown so much in the last few years and I think the previous playoff losses will have helped him manage his emotions during the course of a series.

Every series has its really high moments and other moments in which focus is the key. Just make the next save, don't think about who's winning the game or up in the series. Just make the next save.

Sounds simple, but it's not.

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