Report: Ristolainen dealt with severe COVID-19 symptoms

The defenseman told a Finnish outlet that he had cardiac and oxygen problems
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By WGR 550 SportsRadio

(WGR 550) - Rasmus Ristolainen has told a Finnish publication that he had some severe and scary symptoms of COVID-19 during his battle with the virus.

The article was written by Sami Hoffren for Ilta-Sanomat. I had to translate the article to English, so I will do the best I can to pass on the highlights.

Ristolainen exited the NHLs' COVID-19 Protocols on Tuesday, and he skated for the first time on Thursday in Buffalo. His symptoms were so bad that he had low oxygen levels and heart problems, which are symptoms of COVID-19.

Both those symptoms puts a person in a very scary situation.

"When there was chest pain, it felt like my heart was cracking as I walked up the stairs," Ristolainen said.

The 26-year-old defenseman said his oxygen levels dropped quite badly, and he was tired all the time. He did say that the chest pain went away after a couple of days, so he thought he was getting better. However, they came back hard, as well as other symptoms.

Ristolainen is upset that the games against the New Jersey Devils were played nearly three weeks ago.

“It was a pointless infection in the sense that the New Jersey team had infections before those games, but we were still forced to play,” Ristolainen said.

The defenseman is extremely upset at the timing of this, because he was playing such good hockey. Now he fears he’s lost the momentum of the season. He said there was a good feeling to his play and that he couldn’t fail.

“I played in both games for 27 minutes (26:50 and 28:11), and the playing felt good. I wasn’t tired at all, and now I'm in this mess,” Ristolainen said.

Ristolainen feels the worst cardiac symptoms are behind him, so he got on the ice on Thursday.

Ristolainen says he still wants to sleep all the time. He said after 12 hours of sleep, he feels like he only got five minutes.

Ristolainen doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself. He said if all goes well, he could probably think about returning next week, but his focus is training right now.

In the 10 games he played this season before testing positive for COVID-19, Ristolainen had scored two goals and registered four assists for six points. He also put up 20 shots on goal and was a plus-2, while averaging 23:34 of total ice-time.