Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom shed his baby blue non-contact practice jersey Monday morning. The Swede took rushes with the team’s second line, alternating in drills with Justin Williams, Andre Burakovsky, and Marcus Johansson. While the non-contact jersey is gone, Backstrom is still limited on the ice until he is cleared by doctors.
Backstrom will meet with the surgeon who operated on his hip this week, which will give the team a more accurate timeline on when he can return.
“It’s pretty much up to the doctor,” Backstrom told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “We’ll see what’s going on. We’re going to have a discussion here and see what decision we make and go from there.”
Head coach Barry Trotz believes once Backstrom is given the thumbs up, he’ll need only one or two practices before being ready to suit up in a game.
Though if you ask the superstitious Backstrom, there’s another aspect of his return that needs to be considered.
“After I get cleared, I need to practice,” Backstrom said. “The coaches have to make their decision too. I mean, we’re on a winning streak now too so we’ll see what happens.”
Video via Monumental Network
Yes, Backstrom, one of the top centers in the NHL, doesn’t want to upset the team’s chemistry while it’s on a one-game winning streak. This guy. It reminds me of the time Backstrom refused to touch Troy Brouwer’s long heave at an empty net so the former Caps forward could reach 20 goals, which Brouwer called “the most unselfish thing I’ve ever seen in hockey.”
“He’s done absolutely everything possible to get back as quick as possible,” Trotz said of Backstrom’s recovery. “I think when he comes back he’s such an intelligent player, and such a rare player in terms of his hockey IQ, he’ll be able to maneuver through the game and make it through. … It’s important we do the right thing not only for this season but for the next 10 or 12 seasons he’s playing.”
Additional reporting by Katie Brown and Chris Gordon.
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