Henrik Lundqvist shuts door on NHL return this season

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Henrik Lundqvist has made it clear he is still aiming for a return to the NHL despite undergoing open-heart surgery, but it definitely won’t be this season.

The former Rangers goaltender announced on social media Sunday that, despite making progress since having major heart surgery in January, he will not be able to play for a few more months. Lundqvist, who was bought out by the Rangers following the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, signed with the Capitals in October and had hopes of being cleared to join them in the playoffs.

“Right after getting back on the ice after surgery, I made it my ‘stretch goal’ to join @capitals for the end of the season,” the 39-year-old wrote Sunday. “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. While it’s not what I hoped for, I know this is all part of the process of getting back to 100%.”

In December, Lundqvist first revealed he had a heart condition that would prevent him from playing this season with the Capitals. He announced the need or surgery a few days later.

In his first public interview since the season-ending procedure, Lundqvist told his former Rangers teammate Kevin Weekes of the NHL Network that the heart condition was something he had been dealing with for 15 years.

“I had been aware of a heart condition for 15 years, a leaky valve,” he said. “And at some point it needed to be fixed. Over the course of a few months, things changed. The leak got worse, my aorta started to get too big, the pressure in the heart was too high. But all along, I was like, ‘This is going to work.’

“When I got the call from one of the specialists, that it was part of the process and he was like, ‘Sorry, your tests came back worse than we thought.’ ”

Lundqvist, who finished his 15-year Rangers career with a record of 459-310-96, is the Blueshirts’ all-time leader in wins, games played and shutouts in both regular-season and postseason play.

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