After being bought out by the New York Rangers, Henrik lundqvist signed with the Capitals ahead of the 2020-21 season, hoping his career would end like a fairytale like Ray Bourque’s. Instead, heart disease, which worsened during the offseason, ended Lundqvist’s season before it started.
The goalie took extreme measures to try to find a way back into the NHL. According to GP’s Johan Rylander and the Rangers Forever Blueshirts blog, which provided an English translation, Lundqvist chose to have its faulty aortic valve replaced with a cow tissue valve, instead of a mechanical valve, to avoid take blood thinners. The decision gave Hank a better chance of returning to the Capitals, but he will have to have another heart operation in the future.
“I have to change it in the future,” Lundqvist told GP via Forever Blueshirts. “We’ll see how extensive it gets. There is progress, so we’ll see if the safe needs to be reopened or not. “
During the conversation, Lundqvist also revealed that he was three days away from returning to the Capitals before a painful chest infection put an end to his return attempt.
“It was three days before I returned to Washington that I found out I had pericarditis,” Lundqvist said. “I was about to come back – it was very difficult to relive that, but it was a completely different thing – because it had nothing to do with the operation.”
“I had some kind of infection that attacked and sat around the heart in one way or another. It was quite painful, ”Lundqvist said. “I was completely overwhelmed for five days, lying with chest pain and feeling sick. I had a few setbacks this spring – and it was a callback. I didn’t want to end up there anymore.
Lundqvist told the New York Post that “the inflammation takes a long time to correct and with medication I might be out of the woods, but it might take another full year before I’m 100%.”
The pain, combined with the prognosis, led Lundqvist to make the decision to retire on Friday.
“I have to let this take its time and heal,” a tearful Lundqvist told media in Sweden at his farewell press conference. “There is too much uncertainty for me to come out on the ice in force. Part of it is the medication, part the question of how well I can train. That’s why I made this decision.