Capitals goalie Jose Theodore expected to play after 'stinger'

By Gene Wang
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 15, 2010; D08

The Washington Capitals had a minor scare on Wednesday morning when goalie José Theodore, named the playoff starter a day before, had to leave midway through practice after getting struck in the knee by a shot from Alex Ovechkin Dave Steckel.

The injury was not serious, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau, and Theodore is expected to play Thursday night when the Capitals open the postseason at Verizon Center against the Montreal Canadiens.

"He just got a stinger shot," Boudreau said after practice. "If you've ever played and you get hit on the inside of the knee, almost like a funny bone, it goes numb for a bit, but we decided to keep him off because he'd already had his shots. . . . It hurts right off the bat, but it's on the bone, so it's fine."

After Ovechkin Steckel accidentally sent a puck into Theodore's knee, he and defenseman Mike Green had a short conversation with the goalie, who went to the bench for a few moments before coming back onto the ice and then skating off and walking into the locker room.

Theodore had cleared his locker and did not speak to the media following the workout.

"I don't know what happened," Green said, "so I don't want to comment. I just hope he's fine."

Theodore is set to face his former team in the playoffs for the first time since he left Montreal, where he won the Hart and Vezina trophies in 2002.

Backstrom ready to go

First-line center Nicklas Backstrom was back on the ice one day after missing practice with an undisclosed illness and indicated he would be in the lineup for the playoff opener.

"I was sick, and I was laying down in bed all day," Backstrom said, "but I feel better today, and I mean, I'm getting ready for tomorrow."

Backstrom has played in a team-high 267 consecutive games including the playoffs, and although he has a history of migraines, he did not specify if that was the reason for his absence from practice on Tuesday.

Backstrom has missed parts of three games during his NHL career because of the severe headaches. Most recently, Backstrom missed the final 39 minutes of a 2-1 loss to Los Angeles on Jan. 2 with a migraine.

"I don't know. I don't want to go into details," Backstrom said, "but I was sick. I'll be fine. I'm excited" for the playoffs to start.

With 101 points, Backstrom is the Capitals' second-leading scorer behind Alex Ovechkin. Backstrom finished with a team- and career-high 68 assists, and his 33 goals were also a career high after collecting 36 combined over his first two seasons.

Backstrom was one of four players in the league this season to record 100 points, joining Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby and Henrik Sedin, who won the Art Ross Trophy with 112 points.

"Nicky's fine," Boudreau said. "He went through practice. He's not feeling 100 percent, but I mean another day of rest after today's practice, getting up a little sweat, I think he'll be fine."

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