Nicklas Backstrom was present at the Washington Capitals morning skate today, but rotated in and out of the regular lineup. Head coach Barry Trotz wouldn’t give any indication whether the star playmaker would return tonight, calling him a game-time decision once again. Interestingly though as Tom Gulitti of NHL.com points out, Trotz revealed that Backstrom has not been medically cleared, something that was not previously known.
The Capitals are in good shape against the Tampa Bay Lightning as they head into game four up 2-1 in the series. Though the Lightning were able to avoid falling down 3-0 by winning game three, they have a lot of work to do to topple the Capitals. Backstrom’s return would make that even more difficult, especially if he can jump start the Washington powerplay once again.
- Andrei Mironov has signed a three-year deal back in the KHL after being released by the Colorado Avalanche in March. The 23-year old defenseman never did fit into the Avalanche organization, playing just 10 games for the NHL squad this season. Mironov is technically an unrestricted free agent now that he agreed to a mutual termination with Colorado, meaning we may see him back in the NHL one day. That day will have to wait for now, as he returns to the KHL for Dynamo Moscow.
- The Vancouver Canucks have signed Tanner MacMaster and Jagger Dirk to one-year AHL contracts, bringing them in after amateur tryouts coming out of college. MacMaster played 18 games for the Utica Comets including five postseason contests, scoring 11 points in the process. The 22-year old forward was a dominant player at Quinnipiac University this season, and will try to prove he can keep up the early performance in his first full season of professional hockey.