The Washington Capitals took the ice on Saturday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex hours before they’re set to take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.
Surprisingly, getting on the ice with the team in a blue non-contact jersey was Nicklas Backstrom. This is the first time that Backstrom has joined the team for practice since undergoing hip resurfacing surgery in the offseason. The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir posted video.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) November 19, 2022
The last time we saw Backstrom publicly skating was when he took the ice with Tom Wilson for a light training session in team-branded tracksuits. Head coach Peter Laviolette said on November 10 that the two had skated again since then.
“They’re both on the ice,” Laviolette said then. “Backy’s been on the ice maybe a little bit longer than Tom but that doesn’t mean anything either. They’re just skating around right now. I think they’re just getting their edges. They’re feeling their edges out there, doing some pattern skating where they’re getting their body and their brain and everything on the same page with regard to the edges on their skates, and what they were dealing with in regard to their injuries.
“But the positive news is that they are both feeling good and they are both out on the ice,” he added. “Eventually, and again, it hasn’t even been talked about so I’m not trying to keep something from you, they’ll join us back in practice. That will be awesome. You start to see these bodies come back and that will be fantastic.”
The Capitals legend getting on the ice with the entire team is another huge step. The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell reports that the team does not expect him to practice again Sunday as he is still taking it easy to some extent.
“It was good, it’s part of the process,” Laviolette said Saturday. “They do a lot of stuff behind this wall and then they do stuff we don’t necessarily see on the ice and they progress and progress. That’s the next progression to get out with our guys and start to move a little bit. Real positive to see that.”
Joining Backstrom on the ice were fellow injured Caps TJ Oshie and Dmitry Orlov. Oshie’s last status update was that he would be out indefinitely after suffering a lower-body injury against the Nashville Predators on October 29. He has, however, skated since then.
Pell reports that the team anticipates Oshie practicing again Sunday if all things go to plan. Orlov has been skating off and on and did travel with the team on their recent road trip although he did not play in any of the three games.