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Backstrom & Wilson Skate Again For Capitals; Laviolette Gives Update



Washington Capitals Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom

As the Washington Capitals navigate a myriad of injuries, they got more welcome news on the Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson front.

According to head coach Peter Laviolette, both Backstrom (hip resurfacing surgery) and Wilson (ACL surgery) have taken the ice again to skate on their own. However, they haven’t skated with the main group yet, and the road to recovery is still a long one.

Backstrom and Wilson were back on the ice for the first time on Oct. 26, skating for a few minutes in tracksuits. They got some strides in and worked a bit with the puck, and it’s all part of the rehabilitation for both, and there are still ways to go. There is no indication that they have gotten back to skating in full gear. They were in gear and on skates for media day, though they didn’t actually skate.

This offseason, Backstrom made the decision to undergo hip resurfacing surgery after years of chronic pain and issues with his hip grinding down during the 2021-22 campaign. The experimental procedure has ended the careers of a select few, though Backstrom is optimistic that he will return to the NHL and even play at some point this season.

No. 19 also said that for the first time in years, he is pain-free.

“I think I tried everything else to make it better,” he explained. “But at the same time, this kind of like, the last resort: unproven technology for sports. I just think that’s the biggest thing, but I had to do it because I had no other choice. It’s either that, or I’ll skate on one leg again…

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“It was a life-changer for me in daily life,” Backstrom added. “Just to pick up socks, tie my shoes, stuff like that, and play with my kids. I couldn’t really do that, either. It helped me a lot functionally, and I’m happy about that. That part, I’m feeling great.”

Backstrom had six goals and 25 assists for 31 points in 47 games last season. He also shined for six points in six games in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Florida Panthers. However, his hip was grinding down again during that time.

As for Wilson, his original 6-8 month timeline has him lined up for a late December/January return. Wilson had said in September that he was “ahead of schedule,” but he has not skated with the main group yet. No. 43 suffered the ACL tear in Game 1 against Florida after trying to avoid a hit on Mackenzie Weegar.

“Subconsciously when I moved one way on the ice, I couldn’t use other muscles. And the stability in my knee wasn’t there,” Wilson said. “It was a little bit frustrating, but in my head, I did a week or two where I was doing fast feet and over hurdles with my brace on and everything felt good. And then I’d go on the ice and it would just be like, ‘no go…’ it just didn’t happen, so we had to shut it down.”

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Wilson had a career-high 24 goals, 28 assists and 52 points in 78 games last season and was an NHL All-Star.

Both Backstrom and Wilson have been around the facility and working out, while keeping in touch with their teammates and attending the games.

In total, the Capitals are down eight skaters: Backstrom, Wilson, T.J. Oshie, Connor Brown, Carl Hagelin, Beck Malenstyn, John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov.