Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan talked to reporters on Wednesday for the first time since Henrik Lundqvist announced he would not play during the 2020-21 season due to a heart condition. After the Rangers bought out the future Hall of Famer in October, the Capitals signed the 38-year-old netminder to a one-year, $1.5 million deal to be Ilya Samsonov’s backup.
During the chat, MacLellan revealed that he was personally bummed to not see Hank suit up for the team, but was grateful that the Vezina Trophy-winner could get the medical attention he needs before something serious happened.
“He’s had a — I’m not going to get into the whole situation with his health — but he’s had a heart issue all along that he’s managed that’s been fine,” MacLellan said. “We anticipated it would be the same as it’s been for all of his career. A routine physical – an early physical – turned into ‘we need to explore further what’s going on with you.’ Following along, our trainer Jason Serbus did an unbelievable job. Our doctors. The cardiologists. The specialists. It kept getting deeper and deeper. As we went that far, we got a lot more knowledge about what his situation is and where it’s going, and what his risk levels were.
“Obviously, we were all excited to add him to our team and he was excited to come. It looked like a perfect fit for both sides. Everybody within the organization, his family, everybody was excited to see how it would play out. And then I think we started further exploring where he’s at physically, his risk level is not acceptable for him to continue to play. It’s unfortunate. It was emotional for him and his family. I think we’re grateful that he went down that road. Our medical staff, our trainer pushed him down that road and explored it more.
“I think the result is good. He’s very aware of where his health is at. I think everybody’s a little disappointed that we couldn’t see what we could have done with him in the lineup.”
Shortly after Lundqvist’s announcement, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reported that Lundqvist’s heart condition was not life-threatening, but likely end his career.
Our understanding is that Lundqvist’s condition is not life-threatening. It is also our understanding that this is not related to COVID-19. But he won’t be able to play this year. Chances are, because he will turn 39 in March, this will mark the end of his career.
Lundqvist has won 459 career games, sixth-most in NHL history.
Screenshot courtesy of the @Capitals
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