A day after Nicklas Backstrom suffered an obvious head injury from a Rene Bourque elbow last week, several players talked about concussion and the concern about them.
“Everybody’s different,” veteran winger Mike Knuble said. “I feel like even getting on a plane after is not the best thing for you. The pressurization in the cabin. Luckily we were just at home. It can linger. It can go away quickly. You never know.”
Backstrom skated the following day and reported feeling “pretty good.” He took off with the Washington Capitals on their flight to California and skated at HP Pavilion on Friday. But that was the last time he was on the ice, and the team sent him and Mike Green back to Washington early.
Given that Backstrom did not play at all on the two-game road trip and that there’s no timetable for the Caps’ leading scorer to return, coach Dale Hunter was asked if he had any regrets about Backstrom having to make two cross-country plane trips.
“No. He was with the team and our staff was all there, so it’s perfect for him,” Hunter said.
Jay Beagle flew the night he suffered a concussion, Oct. 13 at Pittsburgh. He did not play again until late December.
That kind of cautious approach worked well for Beagle, who has been fine since returning to the Caps’ lineup.
“It’s just not him; it’s through the whole league,” Hunter said. “Everybody’s careful anymore about injuries.”