No world championships for goalie Lundqvist

Updated: May 2, 2006, 7:23 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Olympic gold medalist goalie Henrik Lundqvist of Sweden will skip the upcoming world hockey championship to rest his injured hip.

The New York Rangers rookie called his coach in Sweden to tell him he will not be playing in the tournament, which begins this weekend in Latvia.

"I'm going to take a few weeks off for sure and just get my energy back," he said. "I would like to play. I love to play on the national team. I love to put that jersey on."

Lundqvist won 30 games with a stellar 2.24 goals-against average during his NHL debut, but he missed seven of the final eight games. New York lost the last four without Lundqvist and then dropped the season finale with him in net, costing the Rangers the Atlantic Division title. They were swept by New Jersey in the first round of the playoffs.

"I feel good, but at the same time it feels like I'm taking a chance if I'm going to the world championship," Lundqvist said as he and the Rangers cleaned out their lockers. "I talked to the medical guys here and it feels like the best thing to do for the future is to work in the gym and just take it easy -- not put any stress on it."

The 24-year-old Lundqvist never regained his sharpness once he got back in the lineup, and lost three times in the playoffs. He allowed 13 goals on 79 shots.

The Rangers lost 6-1, 3-0 and 4-2 in Lundqvist's three postseason starts, and he was benched in Game 2 when New York fell 4-1.

The hope is that time off from the national team and rest and rehab during the summer will have him fully healthy in time for training camp in September.

New York coach Tom Renney cited the Olympic break as a key factor in derailing the team's chase for the division title and a long playoff run. The Rangers sent eight players to the Torino Games and several got hurt down the stretch. New York went 9-11-4 after the break.

"It was very exciting for me to be there and play and to win," said Lundqvist, 5-1 with a 2.33 GAA in Torino. "We were going really strong before the Olympics, and after that we were really up and down.

"Right now I'm not satisfied, I'm not happy. But when I look at the whole picture, It's been a lot of fun."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press