Nicklas Backstrom said he does not have a concussion, just a neck injury that he got checked out this week. The Washington Capitals center insisted Friday he’s fine, the day he skated for the first time since Dec. 26.
“I feel good. I’m a hundred percent,” Backstrom said. “I know it’s a lot of speculation about what’s going on and stuff, but it’s something I wanted to check out. So I went to Michigan and I got it checked out.
“No concussion, so we can all be calm.”
Backstrom saw Dr. Jeffrey Scott Kutcher, a neurologist at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, even though he said he never worried it was a concussion.
“It was more the neck. The stiffness and all those kind of things. It was nothing serious. It feels good to be back here and practice on the ice again,” Backstrom said.
Backstrom missed 40 games last season with a concussion after taking an elbow to the head from Rene Bourque on Jan. 3, 2011. He said this hit was not as bad and that migraines and headaches were not a problem this time.
Still, he went to see Kutcher, who specializes in treating concussions. Given his history, there’s reason for Backstrom to be careful.
“I think everyone in the league is going to be more serious about those things because it’s your head. You only have one head,” Backstrom said. “You can’t really do anything about it. You’ve got to make sure it’s a hundred percent so you can perform out there.”
As much as Brooks Laich talked about Backstrom on Thursday as a “tough kid,” there’s no messing around with head or neck injuries. Last season taught the 25-year-old center that.
“It was a tough battle last year. That’s something you don’t want to go through, to be away for 40 games,” Backstrom said. “You don’t want to do that. Hopefully that’s something I only do once in my career. I’m only looking forward and being positive about everything now.”
Backstrom is expected to be ready for opening night.