While considered to be a game-time decision, the news doesn’t look good for the Washington Capitals who have been without Nicklas Backstrom for the past two games with a hand injury. The center did participate in the morning skate for the first time since being injured during Game 5 of the Capitals second playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
However, while he did skate with the team, NHL.com’s Dan Rosen reports that Backstrom did not participate in line rushes or work with the power play unit during practice, suggesting that he will miss likely his third-straight game today against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan reports that he didn’t take too many shots during practice, but considers it an encouraging sign that he could be ready in the near future.
While the team has been without Backstrom for the past two games, it hasn’t had a major effect on the team. The team knocked off Pittsburgh in Game 6 against the Penguins and then followed that up with a Game 1 win of the Eastern Conference Finals Friday.
- The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa (subscription required) writes that Boston Bruins rookie Anders Bjork needs to regain his top prospect status after an injury-plagued season this year. Considered to be one of the Bruins’ top rookies entering the 2017-18 season, the speedy Bjork won a spot out of training camp on the team’s first line, matched with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, but suffered a concussion on Nov. 11 via a hit from Toronto’s Matt Martin and never was able to full recover. After sitting out for three week, Bjork struggled upon returning to the lineup and began to find himself as the team’s healthy scratch before eventually being assigned to the Providence Bruins of the AHL. A labral tear in his left shoulder on Jan. 30 put an end to his season. Now that Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato have passed him on the depth chart, the rookie must come back and show that he belongs in the Bruins rotation as well next year.
- Sports Illustrated’s Alex Pruitt interviews Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik about the step-by-step process of buying the franchise and how he turned the struggling franchise around, ranging from why he chose Tampa Bay, to the hiring of Steve Yzerman, to the delicate free agent negotiations with Steven Stamkos.
- While handing out big free agent contracts with no-trade clauses didn’t stop, the Detroit Red Wings did begin drafting for the future back in 2013. The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James looks back and breaks down the team’s entire draft in which the franchise began to restock their barren farm system, starting with first-round pick Anthony Mantha, who looks to be on his way to being a core player with the potential to put up 30 goals.