Caps get back to work
The good news for Caps fans is that star center Nicklas Backstrom is home from Russia and was seen Tuesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
The bad news is that he was not among the 10 Capitals players on the ice.
While newcomers Alex Ovechkin, Matt Hendricks, Braden Holtby, John Erskine and Jack Hillen joined Jason Chimera, Mike Ribeiro, John Carlson, Jay Beagle and Mike Green on the Kettler ice, Backstrom spent the morning in the trainer’s room.
Backstrom was checked head-first into the boards in a Dec. 26 game for Dynamo Moscow of the KHL and missed the team’s next two games with what the club called a neck injury.
Backstrom sat out 40 games last season with concussion symptoms and there is real concern over whether his injury is head-related. Capitals general manager George McPhee said he can not give a medical update on Backstrom until the NHL’s new CBA is ratified and training camp opens.
“There are some things we can talk about and some things we can’t,” McPhee said, “and I can’t talk about the fitness or health of any of our players until training camp.”
McPhee said the Caps are not permitted to give their players any medical testing until the official start of training camp, either Saturday or Sunday.
In his 19 games before the injury Backstrom had 10 goals and 15 assists and was a plus-9 while centering a line with Ovechkin.
Ovechkin said he thinks Backstrom has been “doing well” since being pushed into the boards, but he also mentioned the word “dizzy.”
“It was not a dirty [hit] than was before,” Ovechkin said, referring to the open-ice hit Rene Bourque put on Backstrom last January. “But sometimes it’s not a hard hit, you just feel a little dizzy. “We’ll see how it goes. It’s a physical game, even in the KHL you can get hit a lot. It happens. There’s nothing you can do.”