- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2015

Nicklas Backstrom underwent arthroscopic surgery on one of his hips on Wednesday, according to a Washington Capitals spokesman, and the team is expecting him to be ready for the start of next season.

Backstrom, the Capitals‘ top-line center, had 18 goals and a league-leading 60 assists during the regular season, putting him sixth among all players with 78 points. He did not score a goal over the final 23 games, but broke that streak early in the first-round series against the New York Islanders, scoring three goals in the first four games — including the overtime winner in Game 4.

He had five assists during the postseason, though he had an assist in Game 1 of the second-round series against the New York Rangers and did not have another until Game 7.

No other details were offered about Backstrom’s surgery, including which hip was affected or where the procedure took place. The Capitals will open training camp in mid-September, leaving the center roughly three and a half months to recover, though his offseason training will undoubtedly be affected by his rehabilitaton schedule.

Only twice has Backstrom failed to complete a full season in his eight years with the Capitals, with his most noticable absence occurring in 2011-12. That season, Backstrom sustained a concussion that caused him to miss 40 games.

Backstrom said on May 15, when players packed their belongings, that he was not battling any injury during the postseason — a stance that nearly every player echoed. Only center Eric Fehr, who sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder in the series against the Islanders, and defenseman Tim Gleason, who was bothered by unspecified hip and neck issues, acknowledged they were hurting at the end of the playoffs.

“It’s huge that you keep everyone healthy,” Backstrom said. “You need all the guys on there, and playoffs is a lot tougher than the regular season, too. Your body gets sore, but it’s important that everyone can play.”

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