Henrik Lundqvist said it will be months before he knows if he’ll be able to resume playing in the NHL after having open-heart surgery in early January.
The Washington Capitals goalie skated earlier this week at a private rink in Alpine, New Jersey, and acknowledged on his Twitter account that he has a long recovery ahead of him.
“Going to the rink this week has been very rewarding,” Lundqvist tweeted Thursday. “My health is obviously my No.1 priority. It will be months before I can make any decisions regarding my future after more tests/convos with doctors. The one thing I do know with 100% certainty is that I still love the game.”
The Washington Post reported Lundqvist will be further assessed by doctors in late March and likely will release a statement regarding his health by early April. Lundqvist, who turns 39 on March 2, has been on long-term injured reserve since the start of the season.
Lundqvist signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Capitals on Oct. 9 after he had the final season of his contract bought out by the New York Rangers on Sept. 30. The sixth-winningest goalie in NHL history (459-310-96), he was expected to compete for Washington’s starting job in training camp before announcing Dec. 17 he could not play this season because of a heart condition.
Lundqvist announced Dec. 28 he was scheduled to have open-heart surgery for an “aortic valve replacement, aortic root and ascending aortic replacement to be more exact.” Since exiting the hospital, Lundqvist has posted multiple videos on social media chronicling his recovery, including his return to the ice Tuesday.
“Day 47. Back at the rink.” Lundqvist said in a video he posted on Instagram. “Love it. Let’s do it.”
Capitals forward Carl Hagelin was Lundqvist’s teammate with the Rangers from 2011-15 and said it was encouraging to see him back on the ice.
“I haven’t spoken to him in a couple weeks, but obviously those videos made it look like he is progressing well,” Hagelin said Wednesday. “He seemed excited, and I think that is a great step for him and I think everyone close to him really realized it is getting closer, and more importantly he is getting to do what he loves to do.”