While bracing themselves for bad news on Alex Ovechkin the Capitals welcomed a burst of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.
About 30 minutes before his teammates took the ice at Kettler today center Nicklas Backstrom hit the ice for the first time since Jan. 6. He skated casually for about five minutes before leaving the ice.
Just how long it will be before Backstrom participates in a full practice is anyones guess. He has not played since taking an elbow to the jaw from Rene Bourque on Jan. 3 and will need at least a week of heavy skating before he is cleared for contact.
In other words, Backstroms return to the lineup could be a few games after the Caps return from their All-Star break. A return trip to Montreal against Bourque on Feb. 4, perhaps?
Meanwhile, Marcus Johansson returned to the ice after missing Sundays game in Pittsburgh with an illness. Johansson was on the left side of a top line with Mathieu Perreault and Alex Semin, an indication the Caps are preparing to face the Boston Bruins Tuesday night without Ovechkin.
Ovechkin will have a hearing with the NHLs vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan later today, when he will be asked to give his description of the big hit he put on Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek.
--NBC announced today that it has selected the Capitals Feb. 12 road game against the New York Rangers as the NHLs Game of the Week as part of the NHLs and NBCs flexible scheduling policy. The matchup, which will be broadcast in high-definition, will air in NBCs exclusive broadcast window starting at 12:30 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for 3 p.m.