Henrik Lundqvist was one of the Capitals’ prized signings over the offseason, but weeks later, Hank had sad news to share. On Thursday, the future Hall of Famer announced he would be unable to play next season due to a heart condition.
“Today is a pretty tough and emotional day for me,” Lundqvist said. “For several weeks now, I’ve been undergoing several different tests related to a heart condition and after lots of discussions with doctors around the country and finally receiving the last results this week, I, unfortunately, won’t be unable to join the team this year and [will] continue the process to fix these issues.”
Two Capitals’ players particularly shaken by the news were Nicklas Backstrom and Carl Hagelin, who both were looking forward to going into battle with Hank next year. Backstrom has played with Lundqvist on the Swedish National Team, but never in the NHL, while Hagelin was a teammate and one of Hank’s best friends on the Rangers.
“I just found out what happened and haven’t gotten the chance to speak with Henke, but it’s obviously very sad news,” Backstrom said to Expressen as translated by RMNB’s Magnus Cadelin. “I really looked forward to playing with him this winter. Of course, health comes first.”
Hagelin, who spent four seasons with Lundqvist in New York, elaborated on an earlier tweet he sent out on Thursday.
“I was shaken by this news,” Hagelin said. “It really came as a shock. It was a tough day for the Lundqvist family. My thoughts are obviously with Henke, but it’s certainly a tough loss for our team too. Everyone on the team was looking forward to having Henke on our squad. I don’t know how [the Capitals] are going to proceed moving forward, there’s not a lot of goalies with NHL experience available.”
Hagelin went on to elaborate that the news was a complete surprise and seemed to indicate Lundqvist recently learned of the ailment.
“I only knew he went through testing, but that’s standard procedure when you join a club,” Hagelin said. “This is such a sad day for Henke and his family.”
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong
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