Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has been unable to stay healthy.
Katie Carrera of the Washington Post broke the news in her latest article:
Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has missed two consecutive games for Dynamo Moscow since suffering a neck bruise in a game on Dec. 26 and there is uncertainty as to when he will be able to return.
The uncertainty brings question marks to Capitals fans as to whether or not Backstrom will be healthy, if in fact the NHL and NHLPA agree on a new CBA.
This is the second consecutive year Backstrom is suffering from an injury. Last season, he missed 40 games after suffering a concussion off of a Rene Borque hit.
It would be a huge blow to a Capitals lineup which really only has three strong centers. Marcus Johansson can play center if need be, but he is nowhere near as good as Nicklas Backstrom in the face-off circle.
Not to mention, as we saw last year, a missing Backstrom from the lineup is about as detrimental as it can get. The Capitals had a losing record in the games they played without him in 2011-12. They are really going to need him to be healthy if they are going to make a run at the cup.
This is all assuming the season doesn't get wiped out. If the season does get cancelled, we just need to pray Backstrom has a speedy recovery and can get back to tearing it up in the KHL.
Backstrom has been playing in Russia with Capitals teammate Alex Ovechkin in the KHL for Dynamo Moscow. In 19 games, Backstrom has racked up 10 goals and 15 assists. Statistics courtesy of KHL.ru.
Backstrom and Ovechkin have been one of the deadliest duos in the NHL in recent years. The two need to get back to the NHL and play on the same line so the Capitals can get back to their recent success. Last year was the first time in the last three seasons that the Capitals didn't finish first in the Eastern Conference. Much of that was because Backstrom missed 40 games.
With Nicklas Backstrom in the lineup, the Capitals are a whole different team. He needs to get healthy. Everyone say a prayer for him. Also say a prayer for getting hockey back. Happy New Year.