Henrik Lundqvist has been one of the NHL’s best, most-reliable goalies over the course of his 13 year career. The 2020-21 season was going to be a late-career fresh start for the 38-year-old, signing with the Capitals to be their backup. Instead the last few weeks have turned everything on its head.
The Capitals had just begun preparations for the season, then on December 17 an emotional Lundqvist told fans that he would miss the upcoming season after learning he had a heart condition. It led to speculation whether this would mean the end to Lundqvist’s career, rather than just missing the season.
Lundqvist said that after consulting with doctors around the country he was electing to take some time to spend with his family and invest himself in recovery. The tone of the video wasn’t like most when a player says they’ll miss a season due to injury. It was more sombre, more reflective — it felt like something life altering was happening to Lundqvist, which made it feel even worse. When you hear news like this we’re accustomed to wanting to know what happened, but have to reconcile that with the fact that it isn’t our business, even if it feels we know an athlete personally.
On Monday morning Lundqvist gave everyone an update, and is condition is far worse than anyone could have imagined.
Based on the limited information Lundqvist supplied, he will he extensive open heart surgery to correct several issues with his aorta, which is the main artery which runs to the heart and supplies the body with oxygenated blood. It’s significant, and rare, especially for someone in their thirties — but it’s presumed that Lundqvist should be able to make a full recovery considering his age and health.
That said, open heart surgery for anyone is scary, and our thoughts are with Henrik Lundqvist and his family.