Photo credit: Dynamo.ru
Playing overseas may keep some NHL players in top form during the lockout but the dreams of their general managers are haunted by a nightmare scenario — a serious injury to a star player.
Last Wednesday, Nicklas Backstrom was involved in frightening episode, in which he was checked from behind while playing for Dynamo Moscow. Backstrom, who missed three months last season with a concussion, went headfirst into the boards and left the game after trying to play one more shift. Dynamo called the injury a “neck bruise” and said the pivot should be good to go by the next game. As of the weekend, Backstrom saw at least two doctors, and a Russian newspaper report speculated that Nicky had traveled to America due to the injury’s severity. According to Nicky’s Swedish agent, Gunnar Svensson, that’s not true.
“Nicklas has not traveled to [the] US,” he said in a email to RMNB. “That’s wrong.”
“Nicklas has what you say — bruised neck,” Svensson added. “Hard to say about the recovery time. Day to day, maybe week to week.”
Marc Levine, Backstrom’s American agent, declined to comment.
The new recovery timeframe raises the possibility Backstrom may not be ready when — or if — the NHL season gets underway. With the drop-dead date in the league’s labor negotiations set for January 11, the season might get started around the 19th. If Nicky’s injury turns out to be on the long side of the expected healing time, he could miss the Capitals training camp and regular-season games. Washington is also dealing with an unspecified injury to Dmitry Orlov, who has not played for Hershey in almost a month.
The Caps could be back to playing hockey less than three weeks from now — it just might not be with all of their players.