Saturday at Capitals Training Camp, Nicklas Backstrom spoke to the media at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for the first time since the team announced he was week-to-week with a hip injury. Backstrom has missed all of Training Camp since that announcement as he continues to rehab his hip.
Opening Night for the Capitals is on October 13 and neither the team nor Backstrom has ruled him out yet.
"It was a good time now to really be patient with it and make sure I feel good before I step on the ice. The progress is going good and I'm feeling better. Hopefully I can be on the ice soon."
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 2, 2021
“It’s getting better and better,” Backstrom said of his hip. “We’re not rushing it here, we’re looking at it long term, not short term to make sure it’s ready before I start skating. It’s just been beaten up, was a good time now to really be patient with it and make sure I feel good before I step on the ice. Progress is going good, feeling better. Hopefully, I can be on the ice soon.”
Backstrom is coming off a 2020-21 season that saw him lead the Capitals in scoring with 53 points in 55 games. However, it was noticeable that the veteran Swede slowed down as the season entered into springtime and eventually the playoffs. He missed one of the final regular season games through injury and recorded only one point in the first round series against the Boston Bruins.
“Over time, over years it’s been grinding at it a little bit,” Backstrom said commenting on his hip again. “That happens, so when that happens you just gotta kinda reset and make sure you build it up again. That’s where we’re at. Takes a little longer than you hope but that’s just a progress, that’s just part of building it up again and making it strong again. To be honest, the schedule wasn’t great last year. Even if it was a short couple months, lot of games. Hopefully, it will be better this year when I’ve been building it up and we go from there. That’s the plan.”
With the Rangers on the horizon in less than two weeks, the “week-to-week” Backstrom will likely not be ready to go to open the season. The Capitals have an array of players battling for a roster spot due to that.
“I’ve watched a little bit of the preseason games and they’ve [Connor McMichael and Hendrix Lapierre] both looked great,” Backstrom said of his potential fill-ins. “They’re very mature for their age, how they play, and very responsible. It’s good for us. It’s all about depth in this league when you have guys like that who can step up and fill that role.”
“We don’t know yet, but I haven’t been on the ice,” Backstrom said of his availability for the Rangers game. “We’ll see, week-to-week, we’ll take it by there. Obviously, I want to be out there with the guys but at the same time, I want to feel good again and be the best I can when I start. It’s always like that with injuries, it takes longer than you hope. You obviously don’t want to miss camp, you want to be out there. I’ve no timetable here, we’re just going to listen to the body, go slow, we’ll see what happens.”
To soothe some concerns, Backstrom ruled out the possibility of surgery. “I did that already six years ago,” Backstrom remarked, speaking of the arthroscopic procedure he had done on his hip in June of 2015.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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