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Wilson Stunned By Backstrom’s Physicality In Return; Nick’s Hilarious Response

Tom Wilson said he was impressed with Nicklas Backstrom’s physicality and strong play in his return from hip resurfacing surgery for the Washington Capitals.



WASHINGTON — Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom isn't known for laying the body and hard hits, but he was a noticeable physical presence in his first game back from hip resurfacing surgery — and Tom Wilson was a huge fan.

Wilson said he was impressed to see Backstrom throwing his weight around, as he racked up three hits in a 1-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. He also took an interference penalty after easily knocking defenseman Andrew Peeke down onto the ice behind the net while on the forecheck.

"That was like the most hits [I've seen]," Wilson, who led the team with six this on Sunday, said, adding, "But yeah, he's throwing the weight around and he looked strong. On that penalty he took, he just threw the guy down, no problem. He's looking good, it was good to see him so strong on his skates."

Wilson also joked that he wasn't physical enough with Backstrom as they skated and rehabbed together during their lengthy recoveries from offseason surgeries.

"He said he didn't hit me enough during rehab so he's out there throwing the body around," Wilson laughed. "I guess I didn't test him enough, he wanted to prove it to himself."

READ MORE ON WHN: Nicklas Backstrom Opens Up About Emotional Return, Reacts To First Game Back From Washington Capitals

Backstrom had a hilarious response when asked about his physicality.

"What do you mean?" he replied, then when questioned about his hit on Peeke, he grinned, "Well, if you're a little rusty with the stick, you've got to do something else. You've got to try your body out."

For the most part, though, Backstrom said getting back in contact felt "normal," and that now it's just a matter of conditioning and repetition to get fully back up to game speed.

In all seriousness, Wilson said seeing Backstrom return — and play a strong all-around game — provided a huge boost for him and his teammates.

"Backy just has that demeanor that makes everyone around him better. You know, he's a guy that everyone in the room wants to play well for, he gets that buy-in from his teammates. He's such a — quiet but — really good leader in the room. And I mean, he's no spring chicken anymore, and for him to step in and play well and get his feet back under him, it's really inspiring," Wilson said. "He's been a huge inspiration for me throughout the whole process to push me and lead me and just be there for me every step of the way. So I'm just gonna try to reciprocate it and do whatever I can to help him get going. But he looked good and it was fun to see him making plays out there on the power play and back at home."

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