- The Washington Times
Monday, December 28, 2020

Henrik Lundqvist is scheduled to undergo open heart surgery, the 38-year-old netminder announced Monday morning.

Lundqvist signed with the Washington Capitals this offseason, but he announced Dec. 17 that a heart condition would keep him out of the upcoming season. Last week, general manager Brian MacLellan said Lundqvist has dealt with a heart condition “all along,” but Lundqvist had managed that condition and had played through it.

During a physical with Washington, however, the medical staff looked further into the condition. The more testing done, the better understanding Lundqvist had of the risk involved, leading to his decision to step away from hockey for the season.

“I think it was emotional for him and his family,” MacLellan said last week. “I think we’re grateful, everybody’s grateful that he went down that road, that our medical staffs, that our trainer pushed him down that road and explored it more. I think the result is good that he’s very aware of where his health is at. Everybody’s a little disappointed that we couldn’t see what we could’ve done with him in the lineup.”

Lundqvist announced Monday that he will have an “aortic valve replacement, aortic root and ascending aortic replacement.”

“Last 3 weeks my focus has shifted from training camp and the upcoming season to my health and what I can and can’t do,” Lundqvist’s statement read. “… We all have our mountains to climb. Staying positive here and set on the road to recovery.”

Lundqvist, who joined the Capitals after 15 seasons with the New York Rangers, would have been a valuable netminder, serving as a mentor to 23-year-old Ilya Samsonov. Without Lundqvist, Samsonov is the clear starter, and a combination of Phoenix Copley, Vitek Vanecek and Craig Anderson — who the team signed Sunday to a professional tryout agreement — will provide depth in goal.

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