Washington Capitals centerman Nicklas Backstrom and his family have made their way back to Sweden for the off-season. For Backstrom, it’s a time for resting his beleaguered hip and tending to his obligations in and around his home town of Gavle, Sweden.
One of Backstrom’s first orders of business when he returns home each off-season is to check-in with his former youth club, Valbo HC, where he remains an integral part of the management and operations of the team. You may recall that the team’s arena, NickBack Arena, was recently renamed after Backstrom for his continued support of the organization.
You may also recall that Backstrom donated his entire earnings from Sweden’s Gold Medal in the 2017 World Championships to the Valbo HC. Backstrom also spent part of his day with the Stanley Cup in the summer of 2018 at NickBack arena.
During his most recent visit to Valbo this week, Backstrom met with local reporterto discuss the status of his hip injury and the possibility of returning to play for Brynas (also a former club) when his NHL playing days are over.
First and foremost, Backstrom provided an update on his on-going hip issue. After sitting out the first half of last season, Backstrom said he felt good when he returned to full-time play in January, but things began to deteriorate as the season wore on.
“In the beginning, when I came back last winter, it went well. When it gets more intense, it’s hard. I’ve had a bad hip for eight years but it has been possible to play and there is something positive about that,” said Backstrom in an interview with GD.se.
“It has been many tough days. Of course we need to find a solution to the problem. I want to be able to continue playing on two legs in any case. We are looking at solutions right now and I just look ahead.”
Whether that means an operation this summer or not, Backstrom still doesn’t want to say.
“I had surgery many years ago, but I will not do that kind of surgery again in that way. There are some things we will test. We’ll see what happens,” said Backstrom.
“I really hope it works out. I still see a bright future. These problems are not something that has come now, but they have been around for a long time. We’ll see what’s going to happen [this summer]. We have some decisions to make. Those decisions aren’t finalized yet, so we’ll take it day by day.”
Backstrom said the reason he wants to continue his NHL career is very simple.
“The desire to win! I want to win. And I want to be able to decide for myself when I should quit and not be forced to quit due to injuries.”
A year ago Backstrom was asked about the possibility of finishing his playing career with Brynas, his former team in the Swedish Hockey League. Backstrom said he still hopes that will be the case. But is that plan still valid, considering the hip issues?
“Yes, but if it feels good, there is a chance. But you also have to look at it realistically. I do not want to come home in pain and not be able to contribute and play at the level I want. We’ll see how it goes with everything.”
Thanks to Daniel Sandstrom for his assistance with this story.
By Jon Sorensen