According to CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormely, there are rumblings that Nicklas Backstrom could be back in the Capitals lineup as early as this weekend.
The 24-year-old Swede, out since Jan. 3 with a concussion, participated in battle drills with Jeff Halpern and Joel Ward on Tuesday, fueling speculation that he could return for Washington’s final four games of the regular season:
“He’s doing battle drills, he’s getting ready for contact, and getting ready for games,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. “It takes these kind of resistance drills and he’s doing well.”
Well enough to get back into the lineup this week? If Backstrom continues to progress without setbacks some believe he may be in the lineup by the weekend, if not Thursday night’s game in Boston.
“I don’t know,” Hunter said, deferring to athletic trainer Greg Smith. “We’ll have to wait and see.
“You watch him play and he’s having fun,” Hunter said. “As a hockey player he’s glad to be back on the ice. This is what he’s been doing since he was a little kid. It’s nice to see him with a smile on his face.”
The Capitals host Buffalo tonight, then play in Boston on Thursday before going back to Verizon for a home date against Montreal on Saturday.
Backstrom resumed practicing fully on Mar. 26 and has yet to suffer any (reported) setbacks. His return would be huge for Washington’s playoff push — he was the team’s leading scorer prior to getting hurt, with 42 points in 38 games.
Update: Caps GM George McPhee reports Backstrom passed his latest baseline test “with flying colors.”
It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.
For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.
After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.
Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.
Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:
Capitals over the last three games:
Shootout loss to the Lightning
Overtime win against the Sabres
Overtime win tonight against the Bruins
Bruins over the last five games:
Shootout loss against Flyers
Shootout win against Hurricanes
Regulation win against Sabres
Overtime win against Panthers
Overtime loss to the Capitals
Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.
Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.
The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.
(Check out video of the hit above.)
The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.
Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?
Washington currently leads the game 3-2.
There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.
Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.
The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.
It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.
The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.
Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?
(If you’re into that kind of thing.)
Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: