ARLINGTON, V.A. — Each day, the Washington Capitals are seeing Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson make progress as they work their way back from major injuries. And while there's still work to do, it looks like they'll be back in the mix sooner rather than later.
Head coach Peter Laviolette gave another update on the two ahead of Tuesday's game against the Buffalo Sabres, saying the two are making major strides.
"They're working," Laviolette said. "They look good to me, they're skating really hard and working hard out there. Like I said, they're moving in the right direction, trending in the right direction."
After Tuesday's game, the Capitals have three more games to close out the week: a back-to-back with the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road and Nashville Predators at home, and then a Sunday home game against Columbus.
Both have yet to play this season.
Backstrom underwent hip resurfacing surgery in June, and the experimental procedure led to questions regarding the future of his NHL career. However, No. 19 made his way back onto the ice, graduating from skating on his own to being a full go for contact at practices. He is also pain-free for the first time in years and is able to skate without issue.
Wilson, meanwhile, is still recovering from ACL surgery he underwent in May after being hurt in Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He has taken the same steps forward as Backstrom, and he upgraded to full contact over the last couple of weeks.
Washington is excited to get them back in action, and T.J. Oshie, who is also close to returning and a game-time decision against Buffalo, said that the Capitals get a major boost from having those two players back both on and off the ice.
"You look at Tom and Nick, we see it every day. Those guys, they're working super hard to get their bodies where it needs to be to compete," Oshie said. "To see them close and being around the guys again, they're not only on the ice but in the locker room, super, super large pieces of the organization's success. To have those guys on the men and on their way back is exciting."