The news last week came as a big surprise to most in the hockey world. Capitals’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist announced he would be unable to play for the team this coming season because of a heart condition.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan met with the media via a Zoom call on Wednesday for the first time since Lundqvist’s announcement, and provided additional background on the diagnosis.
“He’s had a heart issue all along that he’s managed and it’s been fine,” MacLellan told reporters. “We anticipated it would be the same as what it’s been for most of his career, all of his career. A routine physical that was an early physical turned into, well, we need to explore further what’s going on with you.”
After the routine physical, medical officials decided to run more tests on his condition and deemed it unsafe for the former Rangers franchise netminder to play.
“Following along, our trainer, Jason Serbus, did an unbelievable job. Our doctors, the cardiologists, the specialists, it kept getting deeper and deeper. As we went that far, Henrik got a lot more knowledge of what his situation is and where it’s going and what his risk levels are.”
“It’s unfortunate. I think it was emotional for him and his family. I think we’re grateful, everybody’s grateful that he went down that road, that our medical staffs, that our trainer pushed him down that road and explored it more,” said MacLellan. “I think the result is good that he’s very aware of where his health is at. Everybody’s a little disappointed that we couldn’t see what we could’ve done with him in the lineup.”
Jason Serbus, hired by the Capitals on September 12, 2017, is entering his fourth season as Head Athletic Trainer with the Washington Capitals. Prior to joining Washington, Serbus, 45, was the head athletic trainer with the Arizona Coyotes for nine seasons, where he oversaw all aspects of the team’s medical operations. He was also athletic trainer for the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2005 to 2008.
Serbus replaced Greg “Smitty” Smith, who announced his retirement after 18 seasons with the organization and 24 years in professional hockey as head athletic trainer.
By Jon Sorensen