December 2, 2021

Washington Capitals Media Day 2015: Nicklas Backstrom talks about his injury and 3-on-3 overtime

ARLINGTON, Va. – While a group of players featuring the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, and Justin Williams opened the Washington Capitals’ 2015 training camp here this morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, one of the team’s superstars was off to the side, skating in an attempt to heal rather than get game-fit for this season.

Nicklas Backstrom suffered a hip injury in the 2014-15 season, but toughed it out to play all 96 games with the club from early October to the middle of May. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to fix the issue a couple weeks after the Capitals’ playoff run ended at the hands of the New York Rangers, and the team said at the time that they expected a return to full health in time for this season to begin.

While the 27-year-old isn’t at full strength yet, he’s been skating for some time and will spend the preseason focusing on getting to 100 percent before returning to game action.

“I feel good, no setbacks, so that’s a good sign,” Backstrom told the assembled media Friday morning. “Hopefully I’ll get better after a couple weeks. I wish I could tell you the date where I’m back but we’ll take it day by day.

“It’s progressing, so that’s good.”

Backstrom had 18 goals and 60 assists in the 2014-15 regular season, the most he’s had since 2009-10 – save for the 61 he had the year before last. On the topic of actually being ready for the regular season, Backstrom said, “I would love to play, but we’ll see how it we’ll see how it [feels] the next couple of weeks. I hope to be ready but you never know.

When asked if it’s important to stay the course and not rush back, he said, “Absolutely. Could be none, could miss five, could miss 10 games, it’s all about how I’m doing. The only one that can answer that is me. When I know how I feel, I’ll let you guys know.

“I would say if I can wake up and not be sore the next day, that’s a big mark I have to look at.”

The league’s Board of Governors voted in June to move from 4-on-4 overtime for games tied after regulation to a 3-on-3 setting with two forwards and a defenseman. The style is a bit reminiscent of the free-flowing, wide-open style common in Backstrom’s native Sweden.

“I think it will be fun,” Backstrom said. “I like new things and all the AHL guys liked it, I think. It was successful down there, so why not?

“I think after a couple games it will be good and [we’ll] understand it. “Especially for the fans, too. I think they will like it … it brings back memories for sure. That’s how you play when you were a kid so it’ll be fun. I’m excited about it,” he said.”

About Eric Hobeck

Eric Hobeck is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins and Capitals. Eric contributes to high school sports coverage at InsideNova.com. He served as sports editor of The Rotunda at Longwood University for two years, where he was also the men’s basketball beat writer. He hosted a campus radio show for three years and called basketball and baseball games for the station’s award-winning sports team. You can follow Eric on Twitter @eric_hobeck.

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