Timeline: Concussion sidelines Caps’ Nicklas Backstrom

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Jan. 23Backstrom stepped onto the ice by himself wearing a hat, red hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants. Not taking shots, he stick-handled a bit and appeared to be skating at half speed.

He came off after just five minutes.

He was not made available to speak to reporters.

“Yeah, he skated,” Hunter said. “So that’s good. He’s back on the ice and we’ll go from there.”

Backstrom has not skated since. Those five minutes represented his only time on ice in the past month, as he has missed 15 straight games.

Feb. 11Backstrom addresses reporters at the Caps’ practice facility for the first time since skating in San Jose.

“I’m not a hundred percent to skate right now, so we’ll see when it’s going to be time for me to take the ice,” Backstrom said. “Right now, I’m taking it day by day and see how I feel.”

Backstrom’s off-and-on presence around the team was tough, because the 24-year-old was frustrated to be at the rink and unable to skate.

“That’s the worst part is coming in and not being able to do anything. Seeing the guys is good for about five minutes and then you’re like, ‘OK, I want to get back into the routine of things,’ and after that it’s just terrible being around here,” Beagle said. “It’s almost better to go home for a couple weeks right after the injury because it’s one of the worst things coming to the rink and not being able to work out or do anything. And mentally, that’s just the most frustrating thing.”

Backstrom hosted a team Super Bowl party as teammates tried to keep him in good spirits.

“The best thing for healing is positive thinking. It’s a big thing,” forward Jason Chimera said. “You’ve got to keep positive through it all; there’s going to be times where you’re pretty [ticked] off, but you’ve got to stay positive no matter how hard it seems. I think you’ve got to keep a positive frame of mind.”

Feb. 27 — On the day of the trade deadline, the Capitals put Backstrom on long-term injured reserve retroactive to January, a move that McPhee said was made just in case a deal could be worked out that would require the extra $6.7 million in cap space.

The GM again did not know if Backstrom would be able to return this season.

“Don’t know,” he said. “Hope so but we don’t know.

“I don’t have an answer for you on that. I wish I did,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to plan if you have an answer. But I don’t have an answer.”

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