Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom told reporters on Saturday regarding goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who will miss the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs due to an undisclosed injury, that “he’s had a terrific year but it is what it is. We have a big roster. It’s time for someone else to step up.”
Backstrom called the circumstance of this season’s Stanley Cup Playoff tournament a “perfect time to get together as a group” and sees a benefit with playing in a hub city since the Capitals have always been good on the road, where they went 23-10-3 during the regular season, which ranked behind only the Colorado Avalanche (24-11-2) among the league’s best road records.
Backstrom said that the team has had a “great” two weeks of training camp at MedStar Capitals Iceplex but “it’s all about looking forward to [the] next game” to get their legs. “[We] better be ready after [their exhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday].”
On staying healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Backstrom said that “we all know the circumstances,” and the team will have to make sure that everyone does things like drinking out of their own water bottles.
He thought the game against the Hurricanes on Wednesday “will be completely different” and that “execution wasn’t the best yesterday [during scrimmage].”
Backstrom said called the team right now is “a work in progress… but you want to put yourself in a good spot.”
On goaltender Braden Holtby, who can become an unrestricted free agent after this season, Backstrom said “we’re looking forward to [one last run with him]” and called the team “pretty fortunate to have the same group together for a long time.” He had a feeling that Holtby is “going to shine [this Stanley Cup Playoff run]” and called him “very competitive” and a “calm guy.”
“It’s the perfect scenario for us to get together as a group and really play for each other.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 25, 2020
By Harrison Brown