Nicklas Backstrom revealed after practice on Thursday that the non-COVID illness he recently missed time with was the flu.
Backstrom believes that his recovery from the flu could keep him from traveling with the Capitals as they fly westward to take on the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild this weekend.
“We’ll see what the doctors are saying,” Backstrom said after the skate. “I felt good today so we’ll see what happens.”
Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette echoed his star center’s concerns, saying that he was unsure if both Backstrom and TJ Oshie would get on the flight as Thursday was only their first practice all week due to illness.
“I’m not sure about that one,” Laviolette said when asked if they’d play this weekend. “We’re still working through that one. We’ll go in and see what’s up. They’ve missed an awful lot of time here. This is Day 1 on the ice. We have back-to-back games so we’ll see what we’re going to do and how we’re going to approach this.
“(Backstrom and Oshie) are both not in the same category either,” Laviolette added. “They’ll be handled separately by how their year has gone and where they’re at. I’m going to sort that out. We’ll find out if both are coming, one’s coming, neither are coming, and go from there.”
Backstrom said that he felt “fine” on the ice with one caveat.
“Just a little fatigued, I guess,” Backstrom said, “but that’s normal after laying in bed after four or five days.”
Backstrom got past his illness with “the normal stuff. I tried to drink a lot of water and try to rest. Eventually, it’ll go away. Good thing I feel better and hopefully I can be back soon.”
The 2021-22 season has been quite the journey for Backstrom as he only just made his season debut in mid-December due to rehab from a nagging hip injury. He then ended up in COVID-protocol only two days later, causing him to miss an additional two games before the league shut down for the holidays and COVID-related issues. He would then return for two games before catching the flu and being forced to sit out Sunday’s overtime loss to the Devils.
“You can only laugh about it,” Backstrom said. “I think it’s a little frustrating, but at the same time, there’s nothing I can do about it. Tough to get flu right after COVID. I’ve heard from a lot of people it’s a lot harder after COVID.”
In the three games, the Super Swede has registered an assist in every game.
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