Nicklas Backstrom skated with his Capitals teammates on Friday, a turn of events after the No. 1 center went to see a specialist in Michigan this week.
Backstrom, who was reported to have suffered a neck injury Dec. 26 while playing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, missed 40 games last season with a concussion. The team confirmed he was going to see a specialist, though it did not specify what kind.
But Backstrom was back on the ice Friday at the Caps’ practice facility. It was his first time on the ice here since suffering the injury.
He took the ice along with teammates, which is different from Brooks Laich, who skated by himself for a bit before players jumped on.
“He’s a tough kid; I think people underestimate how tough Nicky is,” Laich said Thursday. “He might not fight, but he’s one of the toughest guys on our team. He plays through a lot that people don’t see. And the other thing is that it hurts him to not be on the ice every single day.”
Dynamo Moscow teammate Alex Ovechkin earlier in the week alluded to Backstrom feeling “dizzy” after falling into the boards last month. Backstrom hasn’t played since.
Laich was on the ice for roughly an hour, much of it by himself.
Defenseman Roman Hamrlik, who drew the ire of teammates and other players around the league for his Thanksgiving week comments about Donald Fehr and the NHL lockout, was on the ice in Arlington for the first time since it ended. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth said in a Czech report that he agreed with Hamrlik.
“I think when we get back into the dressing room, those guys are going to have to show us that we can trust them and we can rely on them because they’re the only ones that have gone and betrayed us in speaking out like they did,” Brouwer said in late November.
The others: Braden Holtby, Mike Ribeiro, Marcus Johansson, Cam Schilling, Jeff Schultz, Joel Ward, Tom Poti, Mathieu Perreault, Matt Hendricks, Jack Hillen, Jason Chimera, Joey Crabb and Troy Brouwer.
Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green, John Carlson, Jay Beagle, Karl Alzner and John Erskine were among those who have skated this week but were not on the ice Friday. With training camp set to begin Sunday, taking a day off is not reason for alarm.
It was Green’s second straight day off the ice.
Neuvirth flew into town earlier this week, his agent said. Wojtek Wolski was driving from Toronto as of Friday morning.