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.

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  • Dark Stranger

    Certainly not the news Caps fans want to hear. (And why does this story sound awfully familiar — like a movie I already saw?) Recall that when he was hit by Rene Bourque, Caps were preparing as though he’d be available for the very next game. And look what happened.

    Okay, the chances are good that this year’s scenario isn’t as bad as last year’s scenario but uncomfortably similar.

  • Thag

    If Ted wasn’t so greedy, this never would have happened…

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  • hotstovebb

    Is it possible that this is a way to keep Nicky off the KHL ice (and “safe”) during this critical juncture in the NHL-NHLPA talks? Yes, I think he hurt his neck, but I can see how his agent might think there’s no reason for him to hurry back if the NHL will be starting again soon. Nice to see that he was named to the KHL All-Star game. I’ve enjoyed watching Dynamo Moscow during the lockout.

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