Lundqvist HHOF classic

TORONTO -- Henrik Lundqvist is ready to strap on the pads and compete in a hockey game again.

OK, the Hockey Hall of Fame Legends Classic at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday won't be an actual NHL game and it certainly won't have much pace to it, but it will involve many former NHL players and some Hall of Famers, which is what Lundqvist will become when he's inducted as part of the Class of 2023 on Monday.

But before the former New York Rangers goalie gets to induction night, he's going to get back on the ice and try to make some saves against the likes of Adam Oates, Peter Forsberg and fellow Class of 2023 inductees Pierre Turgeon and Caroline Ouellette.

"I actually feel really good," Lundqvist said.

That's significant for Lundqvist, of course, because of the reason he was even eligible for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame this year.

He retired Aug. 20, 2021, after attempting to come back from open heart surgery that he had in early January of that year. He said he experienced "massive pain" in his chest that made him feel sick. He had to shut it down for his future and played his last game Aug. 3, 2020.

"I've skated twice," he said. "I'm not back to 100 percent yet. It's been on and off for the last two-and-a-half years now. I'm still working out and I have setbacks, but right now I feel good and I'll try just to be smart about it."

Lundqvist looks back on career, how he got to HHOF

Lundqvist posted on his social media pages Oct. 30 a video of him on the ice and making saves on breakaways.

It was a place he thought he'd never be again.

"It was a lot of fun to be back on the ice, I have to say that," Lundqvist said. "It was something I thought I would never do again, put my pads back on, but this is a special situation for sure and I want to be a part of it, so that's why."

Lundqvist said the best part about being back on the ice was that it allowed him to focus on the puck again.

"I remember feeling really good both technically and physically before everything went down [with my heart]," he said. "Being out there now reminded me how much attention you focus on just one thing, and it's refreshing. It's like, 'Ah, just this.' Life now, there's so much going on, different things, but on the ice it's just one thing, stopping that puck, and I really enjoyed it."

He'll get another chance Sunday. It might be his last.

"I feel good," he said. "Hopefully it'll be a slow game."

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