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.”
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.
As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.
Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.
Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.
PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).
Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.
In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.
Gaborik’s first goal:
And here’s video of the OT-GWG:
Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.
With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.
Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.
“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?
Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.
Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.
It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.
Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.
On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?
It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?
* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.