The Washington Times - March 15, 2012, 03:05PM

Here’s the full transcript of Washington Capitals star Nicklas Backstrom’s meeting with the media Thursday morning, the third straight day he skated:

Q: How do you feel?

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Backstrom: “It felt good. I’m improving I think from when I first got the hit but it takes time, but it’s a good sign that I’m back on the ice and I can skate a little bit.”

Q: What changed going to Sweden?

A: “Well maybe I was changing the atmosphere a little bit, I was getting a little frustrated here when I saw the guys on the ice and obviously I wanted to play. I think it was a good thing for me to be back there and think about other stuff other than hockey. When I got back, I felt better and I can skate now so that’s good.

Q: Was this the hardest you’ve skated so far?

A: “Yeah, it was probably the hardest. Well, it isn’t really hard, but it’s hard for me now. But it’s good and we’ll see how it goes but right now I can tell you that I feel good.”

Q: Any lingering symptoms?

A: “No.”

Q: Is this the best you’ve felt?

A: “Absolutely. It can still get better but as long as I’m on the ice I think I’m getting better.”

Q: Wearing heart rate monitor?

A: “No. I’ve been.”

Q: Does Crosby’s injury shortly after his return from concussion worry you at all?

A: “Yeah a little bit. I mean, that’s something I don’t want to do, I don’t want to see happen. I couldn’t understand his injury before I got one. It’s frustrating but at the same time, you’ve got to be careful. Your head is very important for the rest of your life. Right now I can tell that I feel good and hopefully I won’t be in the same situation.”

Q: Do you regret playing those shifts/practicing days after the hit?

A: “I don’t regret it because I felt pretty good. I had the same symptoms that I have with a migraine and sometimes you can feel a concussion a couple of days after and that’s what I felt. I didn’t play a game afterwards and I think that’s what was good.”

Q: What’s next, adding five minutes more each time?

A: “We’ll see what Smitty puts me on, what program he’s putting me on. We’re probably going to see what’s happening, but I’m going to take it slow, I think and see. I’m not going to rush back.”

Q: Hard to fight temptation to fight back?

“Yeah. Yeah, it’s so hard. I’ve been out for two months. You want to be out there so bad. Especially when you see the guys right now, you just want to practice with them. As long as I’m here with the guys, I’m happy.”

Q: Are you going on road trip?

A: No, not right now.

Q: Is feeling better a recent thing or has it been building up?

“Yeah, absolutely. It’s just the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling good and really felt that this is going forward. As you guys know, it takes time. That’s what guys keep telling me all the time.”

Q: Have you been riding a stationary bike?

A: “I’ve been biking almost every day. But it’s tough to push yourself when you know it’s dangerous, too.”

Q: Was it weird the first time back on the ice with a stick and puck?

A: “It felt a little weird in the beginning. It usually takes a couple practices and then it’s there. I think condition wise, it’s going to take a couple weeks for your lungs and stuff like that. We’ll work on it, and as long as I’m improving, that’s a good sign, I think.”

Q: What kind of physical activity were you doing in Sweden?

A: “I was the riding the bike.”

Q: And skating?

A: “I was skating once, yeah.”

Q: Do you have any anger toward Rene Bourque for the hit?

A: “I think it was just unnecessary. That’s all I think. It’s bad luck, too, that I’m out two months and he just missed five games. It is what it is right now.”

Q: Do you worry after seeing Ovechkin dizzy after leaving with collision?

A: “I can just speak from my situation. I’m worried too, but we’ll see what happens.”