The biggest question facing the Capitals during the upcoming training camp is the status of star center Nicklas Backstrom, who sustained a reported neck injury during a Dec. 26 game while playing for Dynamo Moscow in the KHL.
Backstrom was back at the team’s Arlington, Va. headquarters on Tuesday. But until the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified by the NHL owners and players later this week the team’s medical staff can’t examine him.
“There are some things we can talk about, some things we can’t, and we can’t talk about the fitness or health of any players until training camp,” Washington general manager George McPhee said. “I’d be happy then.”
Backstrom, of course, missed 40 games last season with a concussion, but was brilliant when he was on the ice with 14 goals and 30 assists. But that head injury, suffered on Jan. 3, 2012 against the Calgary Flames, effectively ruined his season. McPhee said he is hopeful training camp and those ensuing medical evaluations will happen on Saturday.
“I think he’s doing well. It was not a dirty [hit] than was before. But sometimes it’s not hard hit, you just feel a little dizzy,” said teammate Alex Ovechkin, who also played with Backstrom for Dynamo. “We’ll see how it goes.”
Ovechkin added: “I think it’s just a situation, you know, it’s contact game, it’s physical game. Even in KHL it’s very good level out there. Again, it happens. So nothing you can do.”
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