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NHL legend and current Washington Capitals goalie Henrik Lundqvist announced Sunday that he is unable to play this season after news in recent weeks signalled an unlikely return was possible. 

Lundqvist, 39, had open heart surgery in January, one month after he announced he miss the entire 2020-21 season. Optimism around an early return began in February when King Henrik posted a video on Instagram that showed him back on the ice just 47 days after surgery.

This latest update comes just weeks after Lundqvist and the Capitals had high hopes of an eventual mid-season return. Lundqvist did not provide a timetable for his return to the ice, other than saying he’d need a “few months more of rest” after last week’s checkup showed inflammation around the heart. 

“I love it. I want to compete, and it’s going to come down to testing and conversations with the doctors,” Lundqvist said during a recent interview with the NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes. “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.”

During the interview, the eventual Hall of Fame netminder disclosed that his diagnosis didn’t come as a surprise.

“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.’”

Lundqvist signed a one-year, $1.5-million contract with the Capitals this offseason, after being bought out by the New York Rangers, the team he spent the first 15 years of his career.

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