Sometimes I feel bad for Henrik Lundqvist. Sometimes those (seemingly annual) iconic photos of him laying face first on the ice as his incompetent defenseman and underperforming forwards swirl around the net like they are circling a net minder who is all-but-dead inside serve as a reminder of just how many years of a generational talent have gone wasted. Sometimes I think he's been taken for granted by a franchise that's somehow defied the allure of New York City to become a yearly postseason casualty in increasingly feeble fashion. Sometimes I even believe he deserves better than these 'Groundhog's Day'-esque endings to seasons that are tick-tick-tocking away as quickly as his biological clock, but then I ask myself..."what could be better than being the best?"
I'm not suggesting that Henrik Lundqvist will go down as the greatest goalie to ever live. That seat is currently being held by someone far, far more accomplished. However, if he continues this tragic career trajectory then he may very well be able to stake his claim as the greatest goalie to never win. That title might seem like one he's done anything and everything possible to avoid, but it's one that allows him to safely scapegoat others. He would probably deem his career unsuccessful if he left the NHL with no Stanley Cups to his name, but the next best thing besides success is not having to take responsibility for your failures.
If you really think about it, the New York Rangers have done him a favor by surrounding him with a helpless supporting cast that couldn't defend their own shadow. Just think of the elite company he is more than likely going to keep: Charles Barkley, Dan Marino, Henrik Lundqvist. Those are some eye popping names and they were able to achieve that notoriety without having to win on the biggest stage in their respective fields. Sure, raising the most prestigious trophy is all of sports would be a hell of an experience, but who is to say it would have the staying power of being the goaltender by which all exploited, snake bitten goaltenders are compared to for the rest of time? It probably sucks to be remembered as a perennial loser, but does it suck as much as being completely forgotten?