The Washington Post

Nicklas Backstrom skating with Caps

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post) (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Nicklas Backstrom was on the ice Friday morning at the Capitals‘ practice facility just two days after visiting a specialist in Michigan, which seems to be a positive sign for the center’s health.

Backstrom, 25, reportedly suffered a neck injury on Dec. 26 while playing for Dynamo Moscow the Kontinental Hockey League but given his history with concussions – he missed 40 games last year with one – there was growing concern he might have sustained another one.

That Backstrom is skating with no apparent hesitation or limits, though, offers the indication that perhaps he avoided significant harm. Friday marks his first skate in Washington since he returned to North America on Sunday.

Earlier this week, General Manager George McPhee said he couldn’t comment on Backstrom’s health until the new collective bargaining agreement was ratified and the center was examined by team medical personnel. 

A total of 16 Capitals took to the ice Friday morning, including Brooks Laich, who worked out solo again as he nurses an apparent groin injury. 

Here’s the list of players taking part in the full group workout: Backstrom, Roman Hamrlik, Mike Ribeiro, Troy Brouwer, Marcus Johansson, Jason Chimera, Matt Hendricks, Joey Crabb, Joel Ward, Jeff Schultz, Tom Poti, Jack Hillen, Cam Schilling and Braden Holtby. 

It’s not surprising some players might want to take a day off before full training camp starts on Sunday. The players who have skated at Kettler this week but aren’t on the ice Friday include: Alex Ovechkin, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, Jay Beagle, John Erskine and Mike Green, who hasn’t skated the past two days. 

Goaltender Michal Neuvirth and forward Wojtek Wolski are the only Capitals yet to make an appearance on the ice in Washington.

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