Nicklas Backstrom underwent hip resurfacing surgery in mid-June – a procedure that few athletes, especially at Backstrom’s age, have come back from successfully. The Swedish center’s murky future was further reflected in a Capitals’ statement where the team would only describe Backstrom’s recovery time as “lengthy.”
Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin recently commented on his longtime running mate’s procedure in Russia and extended his well wishes.
“He is a key player in our team,” Ovechkin said to Metaratings.ru and via a Google Translation. “Recovery times? I hope his recovery will be successful, we are waiting for him, we love him, and then we’ll see.”
The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reported in his (must read) mailbags that while little is known so early into Backstrom’s rehab, the Capitals’ franchise leader in assists is “intent on playing this season.”
Before going under the knife, Backstrom said at a Swedish scholarship ceremony that “I want to quit on my own terms and not be forced to quit because of injuries.”
He added, “I really hope it will get sorted. I’m looking brightly on my future. These problems aren’t something that just popped up now, I’ve had them for a long time.”
During his chat with reporters, Ovechkin also commented on another hot-burning topic in Caps land.
When asked about the futures of young goaltenders Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek in Washington, Ovechkin said, “I’m not a general manager, I’m a player. It is clear that I know these guys, we are friends. I hope they stay on the team, but this is business and anything can happen.”
Ovechkin also spoke about what he’d like to accomplish as his career winds down in Washington.
“I have four more years of the contract, I would like to win the Stanley Cup (again),” Ovechkin said. “I hope that we will be combat-ready next year. Of course, I have personal goals, but the main thing is that the team wins.”
As for when he will officially end his rest period, Ovechkin replied very soon.
“There are five days of rest left, after which I begin to fruitfully prepare for the season so as not to fall in the eyes of the fans,” Ovechkin said. “I have a coach, a former athlete who is professional and does not give concessions. I think that everything will be fine.”
Headline photo: Amanda Bowen/RMNB
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