The Capitals have the day off today and will reconvene for a morning skate Sunday prior to Game 2 Sunday night. However, Capitals bench boss Barry Trotz held a brief press conference this morning at the team’s hotel in Tampa.
Trotz said Nicklas Backstrom (right hand) remains day-to-day and will work out off ice today. Trotz added he’s optimistic Backstrom will return at some point in Eastern Conference Final, but didn’t specify about Game 2 tomorrow. This is the first time Trotz has given any indication of when Backstrom might return.
NHL photographer Bruce Bennett snapped a photo of Backstrom entering Amelie Arena for Game 1 Friday night. (Backstrom has been nearly invisible since sustaining his injury in Game 5). It appears that Backstrom does not have a cast and is only wearing a light wrap on his right hand at this point.
Backstrom has been out of the lineup since injuring his right hand deflecting a shot in Game 5 of the series against Pittsburgh. The Capitals are 2-0 without Backstrom in the lineup.
Barry Trotz holds court at team’s hotel south of Tampa. (📸 @jdotbrown)
Reading the tea leaves, It’s seems the strategy for Backstrom is to keep him out until he is needed, as strange as that may sound. The Capitals took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals Friday night. It’s likely that Backstrom will not play in Game 2 but might return to the ice at home for Games 3 and 4 should the series tighten up.
By Jon Sorensen