Backstrom says he needed to play

Backstrom says he needed to play
October 19, 2012, 5:00 pm
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Nicklas Backstrom’s first choice was to play for the Capitals this season.

His second choice was to play for his hometown team in Brynas of the Swedish Elite League.
 
But when he was locked out of both leagues, the 24-year-old center opted to sign with Dynamo Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League.
 
“Brynas was my first choice, so of course I’m disappointed,” Backstrom told Sweden’s Aftonbladet Sportbladet [courtesy Japers’ Rink], “but it is what it is.

“I just couldn't sit around and wait for them indefinitely; this was my only alternative. I’m really looking forward to playing some hockey again. I’m not sure when I will play my first game for Dynamo Moscow, it depends on how I feel when I get over there.”

Although Dynamo Moscow had not announced Backstrom’s signing by late Friday afternoon, his agent, Marc Levine, confirmed the signing in an email to CSNWashington, saying “Nicklas has signed with Dynamo and will be in Moscow [Friday]. No further comment at this time.”

Backstrom had been skating with Capitals teammates at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the past five weeks and said on multiple occasions that he wanted to play in the SEL if it would lift its ban on signing NHL players to contracts that allowed them to return to the NHL in the event of a labor settlement.

When it became clear the Swedish Elite League would no lift that ban Backstrom began exploring the possibility of teaming up with Alex Ovechkin in Moscow.

“He was mulling it around,” Capitals teammate Jason Chimera said. “Obviously, he wants to play hockey.

“It’s unfortunate for us to lose a guy because we have such limited numbers as it is. It sucks to lose him because he’s such a good player, too, but it’s good for him. He’ll play with Ovi and they’ll get some chemistry back and when they come back they’ll be flying together, so it’ll be good.”

Chimera said he, too, would be playing overseas if he did not have school-age children.

“I’ve got the urge to go now because you want to get some games under your belt,” he said. “For me going to Europe would be a drastic move. I move my family enough as it is. I drag them around the country and I don’t want to drag them to a different country.”

Dynamo Moscow has one other Swede on its roster, forward Richard Gynge, a former teammate of Backstrom.
“I’m really looking forward to finally play some games,” Backstrom told Aftonbladet. “I have been on ice over here in the States, but I probably am not in real game shape just yet.”