The Washington Times - March 24, 2012, 12:12PM

Saturday morning Nicklas Backstrom was beaming about finally being cleared for full participation in practice with his Washington Capitals teammates. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: Is this the moment you were waiting for to get cleared?


Backstrom: “I’ve been looking forward to this for 2½ months. I’m kind of happy right now. It’s good to practice with the guys. It feels pretty good out there. I haven’t been skating long, but it feels all right right now.”

Q: How hard is it to get into game shape now?

A: “It feels like you’re back in training camp. It takes a little time. It feels good. If you give me a couple more practices, I don’t know how long, but we’ll see. Right now I can tell it feels good and we’ll see what happens.”

Q: Hope to be back before end of regular season?

“Absolutely. I want to be back as soon as possible, but you’ve got to be careful and make sure you’re a hundred percent before you go back because you don’t want to get any setbacks. That’s what we’re looking forward to and hope that I can be back as soon as possible. That’s my goal.”

Q: How long have you been symptom free? Obviously since you started skating [March 13].

A: “When I got back from Sweden I felt really good. When I was skating a little harder and harder every day, it was getting better every day, I think. That’s what helps me – start skating. That’s a point I really felt I was good.”