Henrik Lundqvist says his open-heart surgery was a success and that he is recovering.
“Day 3. Surgery went really well,” he wrote on social media with a picture his daughter, Juli, drew. “About 5 hours to get it all taken care of. Really appreciate the great staff here at the Clevland Clinic. Last few days has been pretty crazy but feel like I’m in really good hands. Every day is a step in the right direction.”
The former Rangers goaltender was forced to opt out of the upcoming NHL season due to a heart condition and announced at the end of December that he was scheduled to have open-heart surgery for an “aortic valve replacement, aortic root and ascending aortic replacement.”
After the Rangers bought out the final season of his contract in September, Lundqvist signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Capitals. Lundqvist said he was looking forward to having another chance to compete for the Stanley Cup with the Capitals, but there’s a possibility he won’t play in the NHL again.
“A routine physical that was an early physical turned into, ‘Well, we need to explore further what’s going on with you,’ ” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan told reporters last month. “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, Henrik got a lot more knowledge of what his situation is and where it’s going and what his risk levels are … and his risk level is not acceptable for him to continue to play, for him and his family.”
The 38-year-old Lundqvist visited the Washington area with his family in October and participated in an informal skate with Capitals players in November before he returned to New York.
“It’s still very hard for me to process all of this and kind of shocking, to be honest,” Lundqvist said in a video posted to his Twitter account on Dec. 17. “But with the experts involved, I know this is the only way of action.”
Lundqvist, the Rangers’ seventh-round pick in the 2000 draft, posted a 459-310-96 record with a 2.43 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 887 games on Broadway. The 2012 Vezina Trophy winner, who has been a finalist for the league’s top goaltending award four other times, is also sixth in NHL history in wins and seventh in saves (33,509).