Nick Backstrom is Gonna Get That Silver Medal After All

BackstromKettler

The scourge of performance-enhancing allergy medicine be darned, the International Olympic Committee Disciplinary Commission has decided to award Nick Backstrom his silver medal (PDF).

As you recall, Backstrom was prohibited from playing in the gold-medal game two hours before puck drop due to the results of a urine test four days earlier. The test showed that Backstrom’s urine contained more pseudoephedrine than was acceptable. Sweden lost the gold medal game to Canada, and Backstrom’s medal status was in question until like just now.

Here’s to consolation prizes.

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Photo: David J. Phillip

Nicklas Backstrom did not participate in Sunday’s gold medal game against Canada. Originally reported as suffering from a migraine, we later learned Backstrom tested positive for a banned substance. Swedish hockey officials have stated that drug is an allergy medicine.

Here’s everything we know so far.

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Nick Backstrom Named to Swedish Olympic Team

Ice Hockey - Day 10 - Sweden v Finland

Photo: Bruce Bennett

Sweden has released its roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and a familiar face is right in the middle. Caps center Nick Backstrom shares the roster with the Sedin twins, Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Zetterberg, and Daniel Alfredsson. Marcus Johansson did not make the roster.

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Tony Gutierrez

Photo: Tony Gutierrez

The Washington Capitals wrapped up the first week of the new season with a Saturday night date with the Dallas Stars. The Caps’ blistering power play kept on cracking, but the team looked aimless at even strength.

Alex Ovechkin did the power play thing, scoring the game’s first goal from his favorite spot. Following an unwise hard-around in the D-zone,  Star Erik Cole tied it up from the slot, and Alex Chiasson (playing in his 8th NHL game) gave them the lead on a 3-on-2. A late-game delay of game from Tyler Seguin yielded some excitement in the final minute, but no goal.

Stars beat Caps 2-1.

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30 Days Out: Healthy Mike, Healthy Brooks, Healthy Nicky

mike green

The first puck of the 2013-14 season will drop in exactly 30 days, so we’re going to spend the whole month reminding ourselves of all the good things coming our way on October 1st. I thought I’d start with this little gem: Everybody’s healthy. For once.

Over the last two seasons, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, and Nick Backstrom have combined to play just 63.5% of games. Concussions and #brittlegroin have cost those players a combined 142 man-games, probably a big factor in the Caps’ struggles since 2011. After successful rehab for all three, we’ve got reason to think those troubles are behind us now.

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NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Washington Capitals

Yet again. (Photo credit: USA Today)

Alex Ovechkin sat on the bench, glaring down at the ice with his head between his hands. He looked defeated, because he was. His sixth visit to the Stanley Cup Playoffs was about to end in another disappointing loss, after another year failing to meet expectations.

After the game, Ovi stood in front the white board at the far end of the Capitals locker room and went off.

I am not saying there was a phone call from [the NHL], but someone just wanted Game 7. For the ratings; you know, the lockout, escrow, the league needs to make profit.

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Bad Ice and Bad News: Rangers beat Caps 4-3

Bruce Bennett

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Game three of the quarterfinal series between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers was an opportunity for a statement. The Capitals could have played just as they had last week and put NYR in a headlock. That didn’t happen. Instead, the Capitals got drawn into a quagmire on rocky ice– a penalty-punctuated, back-and-forth battle that they could not win despite dominating the even-strength game.

Rangers beat Capitals 4-3. Capitals still lead the series 2-1.

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[Ed. note: Jason Rogers, Sperm Whale captain and hockey Hemingway, is back for your amuse bouche. But be warned: do not take his insights as mere foam on the web: so far, he's been more spot on than Vinnie "Legs" Baggodonnouts. You are warned. Follow him now here. Thus endeth the editor's finger-wagging.]

Sasha needs an image consultant.

Sasha needs an image consultant.

The Early Morning Skate: Like a piece of old taffy or an oft-abused Slinky, this season is reaching its final stretch. The Washington Capitals sit a few points out from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and on Tuesday the good guys from DC take I-95 South (avoid the mixing bowl!)  to North Carolina to face the Staal & Staal Traveling Circus, featuring “Sasha the Incredible Human Enigma?”

This will be the fourth of five meetings this season between our Caps and the Tropical Depressions, and it is time for this Washington team to decide whether it wants to spend May playing hockey or golf. Watch and learn.

The Mourning Skate: What is the length of one point? Is it the width of one puck crossing or not crossing the goal line? Is it the size of one of John “Towelie” Carlson’s skate edges slipping and giving the other team a breakaway? Is it the distance between wherever the first round of the playoffs is held and Jeff “Sgt.” Schultz’s favorite local golf course?

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Caps beat Flyers 3-2: Have They Turned a Corner?

patrick mcdermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

DFL. The Washington Capitals came into Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers in dead last place. Not in the southeast, not in the east. In the whole damn league.

Here’s the part where they turn it around.

Halfway into the game, Bruno Gervais sent a loose puck deep into Holtby’s net. Nick Backstrom tied it up with his first goal of the year, a patient deke to beat Ilya Bryzgalov one-on-one late in the second. Troy Brouwer took the lead with a brilliant near-side roofer. Wojtek Wolksi robbed Baby Schenn and put a one-touch goal on Bryz to make it 3-1. The Flyers got one back with a Brayden Schenn rocket right as the power play expired.

Caps beat Flyers 3-2.

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Report: Nick Backstrom Joins Alex Ovechkin at Dynamo Moscow

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Swedish site Sveriges Television is reporting that Nick Backstrom has signed with Alex Ovechkin‘s KHL team, Dynamo Moscow, for the remainder of the lockout. Details are sketchy, and who knows how long the lockout will last, but it seems like the band is getting back together. Kinda/sorta.

According to SVT (and via the inscrutable magic of Google Translate) Backstrom said, “I want to play hockey and this will be a fun challenge.” Backstrom also says Ovechkin convinced him to sign.

This is great news for the two BFFs, but let’s hope CBA negotiations this week result in an even bigger reunion soon.

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