Nicklas Backstrom has missed the last four games due to an upper-body right hand injury but has continued to make progress for a potential return. With the Washington Capitals dropping Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals series with the Tampa Bay Lightning, there might be a possibility of seeing their center in game action sooner rather than later.
Before the Capitals took the ice for an optional practice, Capitals coach Barry Trotz addressed the media and gave his daily update on Backstrom.
“When Nicky is ready to go, he’s ready to go,” said Trotz.
Trotz also said that he’d be okay with having Backstrom play with some limitation. In Backstrom’s last game, which was Game 5 of the second round against the Penguins, Backstrom blocked a shot in the first period and after that shot block he stopped taking face-offs.
“No one is completely healthy this time of year,” Trotz added.
When Trotz was done talking to the media, most Capitals players made their way to the ice for an optional practice. Backstrom was among the players who participated.
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Backstrom worked on passing, shooting and even did a few breakaways.
Additionally, Backstrom took part in this unique puck handling drill. This drill involved a bit of light contact and some stick checking. Also in this video are Shane Gersich and Travis Boyd.
Backstrom also worked on his speed, skating in circles around the neutral zone.
This was only an optional so it didn’t have full effect of a regular practice or morning skate but nonetheless Backstrom looked closer to returning to the lineup. The Capitals will hold a morning skate prior to Game 4 on Thursday morning at 10:15 a.m. We’ll see then if Backstrom will take part in line rushes or practice with the power play, something he has yet to do.
By Michael Marzzacco