Nicklas Backstrom was dealt a rough hand last week. The Swedish playmaker was fully in the midst of ramping up the final stages of his return from offseason hip surgery and had to slow things down after being put into COVID protocol.
That on-ice pause is now over for Backstrom. The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir reports number 19 was back on the ice in a full-contact, red jersey normally reserved for the team’s top six forward group on Monday.
The veteran pivot is now free to continue a recovery process that has really gained steam over recent weeks. On December 17 he shed his non-contact jersey in favor of a full-contact white sweater for the first time. On December 21, he skated on the team’s top line with Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson.
According to NBC Sports Washington’s Matt Weyrich, there were no set lines among the forwards at Monday’s practice. However, Backstrom did once again share some time on the ice as the center between Caps captain Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. The latter is also fighting to make his season debut in the near future.
Assistant coach Scott Allen, who had joined Backstrom in COVID protocol, was also back in his normal coaching role albeit masked up for the time being.
Scott Allen is back at practice with the Caps today after a COVID protocol absence. Wearing a mask on the ice still. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/9rBrO1pOkG
— Katie (@That_WriterGirl) January 2, 2023
El-Bashir added in his report that Backstrom’s parents are in town from Sweden. The 35-year-old forward is seeking to play his first NHL regular-season game since April 28 of last season against the New York Islanders.
Three of the Capitals’ next four games come on home ice. First up is the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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