Brian MacLellan calls Henrik Lundqvist's risk level 'not acceptable' to play
MacLellan calls Lundqvist's risk level "unacceptable" for originally playing at NBC Sports Washington
The news that Henrik Lundqvist won't play in the 2021 season surprised everyone. While Lundqvist's heart condition was not publicly known, he has delved into his entire career. However, this year the risks were too great for him to play.
While that's understandable, it's also fair to wonder if the capitals knew about this and why the team signed him.
"[Lundqvist] had a heart problem all along that he was managing and it was fine," said general manager Brian MacLellan on Wednesday. "We expected it to be the same as it was for most of his career, throughout his career. A routine body that has turned into an early body. Well, we need to keep exploring what is wrong with you. "
The condition is the same that Lundqvist has dealt with throughout his career and which was not unknown. However, according to MacLellan, Washington medical staff pushed for more reviews.
"Our doctors, the cardiologists, the specialists, it got deeper and deeper," said MacLellan. "When we went that far, Henrik got a lot more knowledge of what his situation is like and where it is going and how high his risk is."
MacLellan added, "We have continued to investigate where he physically is and his risk is unacceptable so that he can keep playing for him and his family."
MacLellan didn't go into detail as to whether something had changed in Lundqvist's condition or at risk, only that when presented with the options, Lundqvist made the decision not to play.
"It's unfortunate," said MacLellan. "I think it was emotional for him and his family. I think we are grateful, everyone is grateful that he went this way, that our medical staff, that our trainer went this way and explored it more. I think the result is good that he is very aware of where his health is. Everyone is a little disappointed that we couldn't see what we could have done with him in the line-up. "
When it comes to Lundqvist's contract, MacLellan said there are "a couple of options" to what the team can do, but he wanted to give Lundqvist time before campaigning for a decision. At the very least, the team could put him in a long-term injured reserve, which would essentially unlock his $ 1.5 million cap hit.
The fact that Lundqvist's cap hit doesn't stay in the books is sure to help the team that are tight against the cap, and we've seen MacLellan take advantage of that on Tuesday by signing forward Conor Sheary.
Still, that makes the most of a bad situation as both Lundqvist and the Caps would prefer if the seasoned netminder was still right for them this season.
"Obviously we were all excited to have him on our team and he was excited to come," MacLellan said. "It looked perfect for both parties and everyone in the organization, their families, were all excited to see how it would turn out."
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