Nicklas Backstrom was laughing it up on the ice Thursday morning, wearing a normal gray Washington Capitals practice jersey as if nothing was wrong.
A little over 36 hours earlier he suffered a head injury of some sort after taking an elbow from Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque that earned a five-game suspension. Backstrom did not skate Wednesday as he was undergoing concussion testing.
Backstrom took his usual place between Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble during the team’s morning workout before a 1 p.m. flight to San Jose. It’s a good sign, and it looks likely that he’ll be on the trip. But as everyone knows with head injuries, sometimes symptoms take time to develop. Because of that, cautious optimism should be the tone.
Alexander Semin’s spot on the fourth line might be an indication that he’s not ready to play.
Here are the lines:
Alex Ovechkin - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Mike Knuble
Jason Chimera - Jeff Halpern - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Mathieu Perreault - Jay Beagle - Alexander Semin