Nicklas Backstrom makes the right decision for his health

Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

During Monday’s practice there was something odd with Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom. He was taking shifts at the third line center position but then changed spots with Connor McMichael.

On Tuesday, the team was off. It was then when Backstrom decided to take a break from the game. On Wednesday morning prior to practice, Backstrom addressed his teammates in the locker room and told them the news. To say the least, it was emotional. It still is.

Backstrom had given his all to the organization. In fact, he gave more than his all. This isn’t a retirement. According to the team, in addition to taking a break to focus on his health, he still intends to be around his teammates to support them as they navigate the tough road ahead.

But in the end this was the right decision. Backstrom has a wife. He also has three kids. Let the man spend time with his family. Had he kept playing, that hip that he got surgery from could’ve gotten worse. And that would of affected everyone in his family from his wife to his children.

Still, not having Backstrom around is a big deal. Especially from all he’s done for the organization and his teammates. Alex Ovechkin spoke about it after Wednesday’s practice:

"“He’s a leader. He’s been in this organization all of his career. Me and him have played together since Day 1 and it’s kind of hard to see what’s happening right now. But we just support him and be with him.”"

Backstrom has assisted on 297 of Ovechkin’s 824 career goals. It was the great eight who announced the Caps selected Backstrom in the 2006 NHL Draft. Since then, the two have become inseparable. Now one will be in a suite or the press box while the other will still be on the ice.

T.J. Oshie added, “As a teammate, it was tough to hear. It was obviously a hard thing for him to do. Nick is an insane, large piece of this organization. It was a pretty emotional morning.”

Starting tonight against the New York Islanders, watching games the remainder of the season will not be the same. But in the end, Backstrom made the right decision for himself and his family. We all love hockey players and seeing them lace up their skates in a game but in the end it’s just that, a game.

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Health is the most important thing and Backstrom focusing on that health is the right move.