Nicklas Backstrom

Good news in Washington: Nicklas Backstrom cleared to practice


Business is about to pick up in the nation’s capital.

The Capitals got a surprise at this morning’s practice when they got word Nicklas Backstrom was cleared to participate fully with no restrictions, as reported by Chuck Gormley of With the season coming to an end in just a couple weeks and the playoff push going hard in Washington, getting the team’s best playmaker back to close out the year would give them a huge advantage.

Backstrom has been out of action since early January after taking an elbow to the face courtesy of then Flames forward Rene Bourque. Curiously enough, Bourque and his current team, Montreal, play in Washington on March 31. With how Backstrom has progressed in his concussion recovery, it’s not outside the realm of possibility he makes his comeback by then.

For a season that’s had a lot of drama already, Backstrom returning against the player that knocked him out would amp things up a bit in the middle of a playoff push.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?