- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Washington Capitals placed center Nicklas Backstrom on long-term injured reserve Tuesday, a day before the team’s season opener against the New York Rangers.

Backstrom now must miss a minimum of 10 games and 24 days, meaning the earliest he can come back is Nov. 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The 33-year-old, who has been sidelined with a hip injury, did not skate with the Capitals in training camp and the preseason. The team has not provided a timetable for when Backstrom might be healthy enough to play, though the center told reporters earlier this month he hopes to be skating “soon.” 

As corresponding moves, Washington recalled forwards Connor McMichael and Beck Malenstyn to the roster. 

Backstrom’s injury is to the same hip that caused him to undergo arthroscopic surgery in 2015. He said on Oct. 2 that his hip started to bother him again late last season. Backstrom tallied only one assist and zero goals in the playoffs, when the Capitals lost to the Boston Bruins in five games.

“It has just been beaten up,” he said. “It is a good time now to really be patient with it and make sure it feels good before I step on the ice.”

The Capitals also announced Tuesday their opening-night roster, which does contain Backstrom because he does not count toward the salary cap. The Capitals still must pay his salary while on the list, however. Backstrom is due $5 million this year.

Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is also questionable for the opener with a lower body injury. He’s considered day to day. Ovechkin skated around the ice during an optional practice Tuesday to test out the injury.

“Certainly a positive sign that he’s out there,” Capitals coach Peter Laviolette said of Ovechkin. “We’ll do what’s best for the player and make sure that they’re healthy and we won’t put them in any situations where they might be jeopardized out there. But obviously it’s great to see him out there.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.



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