Good news: the Washington Capitals are on the ice for training camp. Bad news: Nicklas Backstrom wasn’t among them and the team announced prior to Group A’s session that Backstrom will not only miss the start of training camp and the preseason but is listed as week to week.
Backstrom is missing the start of camp due to ongoing rehabilitation in his hip that he suffered at the end of last season. He still played through the injury in the playoffs but you could tell he wasn’t 100 percent.
This isn’t the first time Backstrom has entered a new season with a nagging injury. Prior to the start of the 2015-16 season, Backstrom missed training camp and the entire preseason along with the first few regular season games while also recovering from hip surgery. Sounds very similar.
Backstrom still participated in team physicals and the first portion of media day, posing for photos and videos with Alex Ovechkin in front of a green screen. It was wholesome content for your viewing pleasure.
At the end of the season when general manager Brian MacLellan addressed the media, he revealed that Backstrom was battling an injury in the playoffs. Via JJ Regan of NBC Sports Washington:
"“I think it (the hip injury) caught up with him at the end. It got worse and he struggled to be at 100 percent. … He got worn down at the end of the year.”"
In 55 games last season, Backstrom scored 15 goals and added 38 assists. He also averaged 3.1 points per 60 minutes, his best rate since 2016-17. In five playoff games against the Boston Bruins, Backstrom had just one assist.
While it’s not the best news to start the season, at least Backstrom has a little bit of time to get himself ready for the season opener on Oct. 13 against the New York Rangers. If he’s not ready by then, expect the Caps to ease him into the lineup at some point early in the season when his hip heals.