The Washington Capitals are seeing some good signs, as Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie and Nic Dowd have been taking the ice when they can as they recover from a multitude of injuries.
Backstrom has been slowly making progress and skating on his own in full gear as he rehabilitates a hip injury. Backstrom remains on the long-term injured reserve and has not taken the ice with the team since training camp opened. Head coach Peter Laviolette said that he and the Swede are trusting the process and that Backstrom will not get back into full-intensity drills until he’s 100 percent comfortable to do so.
Oshie has been out since injuring himself on a blocked shot in the team’s Oct. 27 showdown with the Detroit Red Wings. He was in a walking boot, but also appears to be working toward his recovery.
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Both Backstrom and Oshie hit the ice together prior to the Capitals morning skate, per NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Regan. Both were working with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish.
Meanwhile, Dowd also took the ice. He was skating in full gear prior to the morning skate but did not take part in line rushes or go through the motions of practice. He remains on the IR, but it’s a good sign for the 31-year-old, who is recovering from an injury he suffered against the Buffalo Sabres.
Overall, these are good signs for Washington, who is trying to get back to full strength. Backstrom and Oshie are just two of three injured Capitals top-6 skaters — in addition to Anthony Mantha, who remains out indefinitely — and bring a lot to the power play and at even strength. Dowd, meanwhile, drives one of Washington’s top trios alongside Carl Hagelin and Garnet Hathaway and is also one of their best face-off guys and penalty killers.
In the meantime, they will continue to rely on their rookies in Connor McMichael, Brett Leason, Aliaksei Protas and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby to fill the void.