Backstrom Edging Closer to ReturnPosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
Although Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom accompanied his teammates to Boston for Thursday’s game against the Bruins, he is not expected to suit up for the contest. Two weeks after he started skating in a bid to return to the lineup after suffering a concussion on Jan. 3, Backstrom seems to be edging closer to a return, but he’s not quite there yet. Backstrom skated with teammates Jeff Halpern, Tomas Vokoun and Joel Ward and assistant coaches Dean Evason and Jim Johnson for nearly an hour on Wednesday before the team departed for Boston. “He’s not going to play [Thursday],” says Caps coach Dale Hunter. “We just want him with the team so he can practice; you see the drills that we’re doing. They’re all battle drills, and if he gets in, that’s how he has to play. They’re hard drills out there, and everyday he has been fine. It’s good news for us and for him.” Caps general manager George McPhee told the media on Tuesday that Backstrom had been cleared to play from a medical standpoint, and that the center would return when he personally felt physically capable of doing so. “I’m close,” said Backstrom after Wednesday’s practice. “I’m close to play, I think. Obviously it takes a while to get back into normal shape, but we don’t have too much time, either. But I’m feeling good. I’ve been practicing good the last couple of days and I’ve been pushing it a little bit, too. “We’ll take it day by day and see where it goes.” Vokoun and Ward also accompanied the Caps on the trip to Boston.
Washington has taken two of three from the Bruins in the season’s series between the two clubs this season, including the last meeting here on March 10. The Caps jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first in that one and held on for a 4-3 win. The Capitals hung five goals on the Bruins in a Jan. 24 game