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Henrik Lundqvist still hoping for NHL return after heart surgery

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl joins Kathryn Tappen to discuss how his father helped him pursue his hockey career, who he modeled his game after, raising a puppy and giving back to the Edmonton community.

Henrik Lundqvist still has the desire to resume his NHL career after recovering from heart surgery in January.

During an interview with former Rangers teammate and NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes, the 39-year-old Lundqvist said that a decision on his playing career will come following discussions with his medical team.

“I love it. I want to compete, and it’s going to come down to testing and conversations with the doctors,” Lundqvist said. “It’s coming up, so we’re getting close to that point. And until then, I just keep grinding, and then we’ll see what happens.”

Two months after signing with the Capitals, Lundqvist announced in December he would sit out the 2020-21 NHL season due to heart condition that would require surgery.

Lundqvist told Weekes the diagnosis wasn’t a surprise to him.

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“I’d been aware of a heart condition for 15 years that I had a leaky valve and at some point it needed to be fixed, but over the course of a few months things changed and the leak got worse and my aorta started to get too big and the pressure in the heart was too high,” he said. “But all along, I was like, ‘This is going to work. We’re going to make it work.’ And I get the call from one of the specialists that it was part of the process and it’s like, ‘I’m sorry, but your tests came back worse than we thought.’”

Weeks after the surgery in early January, he was back on the ice for a workout in full goalie gear.

While Henrik Lundqvist hopes to play again, what his doctors say will ultimately determine his next course of action. But should the door re-open to resuming his career, he won’t pass up the chance get back on the ice.

“I love the grind, but you love the results from grinding, putting in the work,” he said. “So if I get an opportunity, I’ll put in everything I have, obviously.”


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.