Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom spoke to top Swedish news outlet Expressen about playing through injuries and his plans for offseason recuperation, but what you really want to hear is his confidence about a new contract for Alex Ovechkin.
Following Washington’s elimination, Backstrom declined to play at the IIHF World Championships. That decision was driven by Backstrom’s hip injury, which has had the Swedish forward in pain for months. “It’s a sour feeling every time,” Backstrom told SportExpressen of his decision not to go to Worlds. “And it didn’t feel better that I’ve been playing in pain for the last couple of months.”
Backstrom cited the aggressive schedule of the COVID-shortened season as a complication. “The compressed schedule with four games every week wasn’t good for me. I’ve been in pain for a long time, so it wasn’t even close for me to go to the Worlds when we were eliminated.”
Backstrom will spend the summer working on getting healthy, hoping to avoid an operation. “I’m seeing some specialists in the coming weeks to see what we can do,” Backstrom said. “The first step is rest and rehab training. Surgery isn’t on the table at this point.”
That optimism extends to Alex Ovechkin, whose contract with the Capitals expires this summer. “To be honest, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Backstrom said. “But I can assure you Ovi will stay, even if he needs a new contract.”
Expressen concluded by asking Backstrom about fellow Swede Henrik Lundqvist, who signed with the Capitals before missing the season due to health concerns. Backstrom said Washington’s three-goalie platoon was not ideal, “but the most important thing is for him to get healthy again.”
Translation by Magnus Cadelin
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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