- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Henrik Lundqvist isn’t a runner. But the goaltender, who underwent open heart surgery six weeks ago, said in a Twitter post Wednesday that he felt so good he decided to run anyway.

Lundqvist, the longtime New York Rangers shot-stopper, signed with the Washington Capitals this offseason. But the 38-year-old wasn’t able to compete this season after he discovered that the heart condition he’s managed throughout his career would require surgery.

He underwent the operation Jan. 10, and his six-week checkup went well.

“Today is a good day,” Lundqvist wrote. “The checkup with the doctor this morning reaffirmed what I’ve been feeling last few weeks, everything looking great. It energized me so much I had to go out for a run (FYI, I’m not a runner).”

Lundqvist played 15 seasons with the Rangers, winning the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie in 2012. He also helped Sweden win an Olympic gold medal in 2006.

Lundqvist was initially signed to partner with 23-year-old netminder Ilya Samsonov, but Lundqvist’s heart condition left the Capitals relying on rookie Vitek Vanecek as the No. 2 option. Samsonov was added to the coronavirus protocol list last month after appearing twice, leaving Vanecek as the starter.

Samsonov came off the coronavirus list last week, but he was assigned to the AHL’s Hershey Bears to work some rust off. Without Samsonov, Vanecek has started 11 straight games, and the 25-year-old holds a .906 save percentage and a 3.06 goals-against average.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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