- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 11, 2021

Henrik Lundqvist made it his “stretch goal” to continue his NHL career this season after undergoing open heart surgery in January. But the 39-year-old goaltender, who signed with the Washington Capitals in October 2020, has shelved those ambitious plans.

In a two-tweet statement Sunday, Lundqvist announced that he wouldn’t return to the ice to play for the Capitals this season because his “heart isn’t quite ready.” He said a checkup last week showed inflammation around his heart, requiring a few months of rest and recovery.

“Right after getting back on the ice after surgery, I made it my ‘stretch goal’ to join @Capitals for the end of the season,” Lundqvist’s first tweet read. “Training has been going really well and I’ve been feeling good - but my heart isn’t quite ready.”

Last week’s checkup showed some inflammation around the heart that now requires a few months more of rest and steady recovery,” Lundqvist continued. “While it’s not what I hoped for, I know this is all part of the process of getting back to 100%.”

Lundqvist returned to the ice less than two months after surgery. He had first announced in December that he’d miss the season due to a heart condition, but the longtime New York Rangers shot-stopper hoped for a potential return.

Now, that looks as if it won’t happen, leaving Washington with Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov unless the team makes a trade ahead of Monday’s deadline.

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