Backstrom week to week for Capitals, will miss start of training camp

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Nicklas Backstrom is week to week for the Washington Capitals and will miss the start of training camp to continue rehabilitation for a hip injury.

The Capitals reported for camp physicals Wednesday and Backstrom will not be on the ice for the first practice Thursday.

The forward has been bothered by the injury since last season and missed one game because of it, the Capitals’ penultimate regular-season game against the Philadelphia Flyers on May 8. The 33-year-old led Washington and was 20th in the NHL with 53 points (15 goals, 38 assists) in 55 games but was held to one assist in a five-game loss to the Boston Bruins in the best-of-7 Stanley Cup First Round.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan confirmed after the season that Backstrom was dealing with a hip injury that caused him to decline an invitation to play for Sweden in the 2021 IIHF World Championship.

“Yeah, he has an injury that I think it caught up with him at the end,” MacLellan said. “It got worse, and he struggled to be at 100 percent.

“I think ‘Nick’ had a great year. He led our team. Unfortunately, he got worn down at the end of the year.”

In June, Backstrom told Gefle Daglad, a daily newspaper in his hometown of Gavle, that he was having trouble with the same hip he had arthroscopic surgery on in May 2015. Backstrom missed the first three games of the 2015-16 season while recovering from the procedure on his left hip.

“I had surgery on it six years ago and at that time it felt OK,” Backstrom said. “But now… well, to be honest, it feels so and so.”

Backstrom is entering 15th NHL season and the second of a five-year, $46 million contract (average annual value of $9.2 million) he signed Jan. 14, 2020. The No. 4 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, Backstrom became the second Capitals player to play 1,000 NHL regular-season games, getting an assist in a 5-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on April 15, joining captain Alex Ovechkin.

Backstrom’s 722 assists in 1,011 regular-season games since making his NHL debut at the start of the 2007-08 season are most in the League over that span and his 980 points (258 goals) rank fifth behind Ovechkin (1,122), Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby (1,103), Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (1,088) and Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin (1,019).

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