Mar 27, 2012, 4:52 PM EST
The 24-year-old Swede, out since Jan. 3 with a concussion, participated in battle drills with Jeff Halpern and Joel Ward on Tuesday, fueling speculation that he could return for Washington’s final four games of the regular season:
“He’s doing battle drills, he’s getting ready for contact, and getting ready for games,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said. “It takes these kind of resistance drills and he’s doing well.”
Well enough to get back into the lineup this week? If Backstrom continues to progress without setbacks some believe he may be in the lineup by the weekend, if not Thursday night’s game in Boston.
“I don’t know,” Hunter said, deferring to athletic trainer Greg Smith. “We’ll have to wait and see.
“You watch him play and he’s having fun,” Hunter said. “As a hockey player he’s glad to be back on the ice. This is what he’s been doing since he was a little kid. It’s nice to see him with a smile on his face.”
The Capitals host Buffalo tonight, then play in Boston on Thursday before going back to Verizon for a home date against Montreal on Saturday.
Backstrom resumed practicing fully on Mar. 26 and has yet to suffer any (reported) setbacks. His return would be huge for Washington’s playoff push — he was the team’s leading scorer prior to getting hurt, with 42 points in 38 games.
Update: Caps GM George McPhee reports Backstrom passed his latest baseline test “with flying colors.”
- Boychuk boarded by Pacioretty, taken off on stretcher (Update: has movement in extremities) 48
- Seguin (concussion) cleared to play tonight 0
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ 87
- Will the Rangers use a compliance buyout on Richards? 9
- Malkin (lower body) to miss tonight’s game versus Sharks 20
- Flyers’ Couturier: ‘We’re starting to believe in ourselves’ 59
- Columbus puts Bobrovsky (groin) on IR, out 4-5 weeks 3
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Olympic odds, Russia’s defense, King Henrik’s new deal, Fire Cappy? and more 28
- With Lundqvist deal done, Sather faces tough questions 11
- King of New York: Rangers sign Lundqvist to seven-year, $59.5 million extension 42
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (87)
- Flyers’ Couturier: ‘We’re starting to believe in ourselves’ (59)
- Lehtonen shines, Roussel agitates as Stars beat ‘Hawks (53)
- Video: Canucks’ Bieksa fights Rangers’ Boyle, then kicks Boyle’s helmet (52)
- Boychuk boarded by Pacioretty, taken off on stretcher (Update: has movement in extremities) (51)