Michal Neuvirth will soon be playing in the Czech Extraliga with HC Sparta Praha. Alex Ovechkin will soon be signing in the Kontinental Hockey League, possibly with CSKA Moscow. Will Washington Capitals teammate Nicklas Backstrom be joining them for a European vacation from the NHL lockout?
“I’m looking for some options, but we’ll see,” Backstrom said Tuesday. “It has to be the right thing too. We’ll see.”
Backstrom skated Tuesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex with six Caps teammates and free agent goaltender Brent Johnson. With the lockout only a few days old, he hasn’t yet bolted home to Sweden.
If the right offer comes together, Backstrom could start earning a paycheck.
Obviously I have my home team back in Sweden, and there’s a couple other options, too,” he said, referring to Brynas IF in Galve, Sweden. “But we’ll see what happens. A lot of things have to click before I go.”
One of those things would be the Swedish Elite League allowing locked out NHL players to sign deals with out clauses once a new collective bargaining agreement is worked out. Lower-level leagues in that country allow that, but if the SEL does, it could open the door for many stars, like Backstrom and the Sedins, to bring more star power to Sweden.
As for a timetable to decide on an option, Backstrom is looking a couple of months down the line.
“We’ll see how long it’s going to take,” he said. “If it’s going to be longer than Christmas, then obviously you have to play somewhere.”
In sharing his own opinion about how how long the lockout might last, Backstrom said: “I can just tell you my own thoughts and that’s: I think it’s going to be until November.”