On Monday, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom spoke to the media following today’s practice, which was his first time taking line rushes with the team. He discussed his status on potentially returning to the lineup on Wednesday and his overall journey after missing training camp and the first 28 games of the season due to ongoing hip rehabilitation.
“I’m feeling good right now,” Backstrom said about his current status. “It was nice to get a practice in and actually take some line rushes too, but feeling better, progressing, and we’ll see where we’re at…another practice tomorrow, so we’ll go from there.” He noted getting the “repetition” down and “getting back into the system” are what he is focusing on.
On the emotional side of the spectrum, he feels excited to get back on the ice with the guys. “It’s just nice to be skating with the guys. Skating by yourself actually sucks…it’s nice to get out there and compete with the guys, take line rushes…that’s just fun.”
His return to games is drawing near. Head coach Peter Laviolette told the media today that he did not rule out Backstrom for Wednesday’s game at the Chicago Blackhawks. Capitals players had training camp and preseason games to get back into the swing of things whereas Wednesday’s game would mark the first game of the season should he play.
“It’s going to be different…we’ll see how it goes when I start playing,” he said, adding, “As of practice right now, I’m feeling good, so hopefully that stays the same during the game.”
Backstrom said the “last couple of weeks” have been good in terms of skating and the physical toll of the game. “It’s been a long journey, but fun to skate with the guys again.” He also said that “it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster” during rehab, noting the emotional aspect was predominant.
The 34-year-old Swede has continued to support his team whether in the press box or watching the team on TV. Captain Alex Ovechkin is now on pace for 70 assists this season. “He’s amazing,” Backstrom said on Ovechkin. “I think he’s just involved in everything…it’s fun to see. He’s had a great start to the season.”
It’s just nice to be skating with the guys. Skating by yourself actually sucks … it’s nice to get out there and compete with the guys, take line rushes – that’s just fun.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 13, 2021
By Della Young