Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has played the majority of his career alongside teammate and close friend Nicklas Backstrom. And, with Backstrom recently undergoing hip resurfacing surgery, he and the team will be without a key piece for a while — perhaps even the entire 2022-23 season and beyond.
The Great 8 recently spoke on Backstrom in an interview with MatchTV and said it’s difficult to be without his partner in Washington’s famous “duo.”
“I didn’t talk to him about it [yet]… I hope that he will come out and continue his wonderful career,” Ovechkin said. “Backstrom is one of the best centers in the NHL. The league and game itself will lose a lot if he doesn’t continue to play.”
Backstrom has left a lasting legacy as the best center in Capitals franchise history. The Swede is the franchise leader in assists (747) and second all-time in points with 1,011 through 1,058 games in D.C. Backstrom hit the 1,000-point mark this past season and also skated in his 1,000th game alongside Ovechkin in 2021-22.
It was a difficult season for No. 19, who missed the start of the 2021-22 campaign as he rehabilitated a lingering hip injury, electing not to get surgery. He came back in December and managed six goals and 25 assists for 31 points in 47 games. In the postseason, he strung together an excellent series with six points in six games.
However, Backstrom’s hip started to grind down again toward the end of the campaign. In his exit interview, he admitted that the hip will never be “100 percent,” and in June, he underwent hip resurfacing surgery. It is a difficult surgery to return from, and most notably ended Ryan Kesler’s playing career.
Still, the 34-year-old intends to do whatever he can to return at some point and finish his career with Washington.
“The best thing I want to do is play hockey, and that’s my life,” Backstrom had said in May. “Obviously, I want to be back. I want to be back to normal, not worrying about this. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”