Caps center Backstrom to see specialist

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Loose Pucks,Sports,Brian McNally

The Capitals have confirmed an Internet report that star center Nicklas Backstrom will see a specialist in Michigan for a reported neck injury that he suffered during a game in Russia on Dec. 26.

Backstrom, 25, was checked from behind and landed awkwardly into the end boards during a KHL game for Dynamo Moscow. The upcoming specialist visit was first reported by the popular fan blog Russian Machine Never Breaks.

“Nick and his agent informed us that they are being proactive with his injury and decided to visit a specialist prior to training camp,” a Caps spokesman said. “Obviously, until camp officially starts teams cannot perform physicals on any player.”

That will not happen until the NHL Players’ Association and league owners ratify the new collective bargaining agreement that ended the 113-day lockout. Backstrom was at Kettler Iceplex on Tuesday for the first time, but was not seen by reporters on Wednesday. Washington general manager George McPhee declined to comment on Backstrom’s status on Tuesday, citing the unratified CBA and that team doctors aren’t officially allowed to examine the player until

“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,” McPhee said. “I’d be happy then.”

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