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Backstrom is missing from practice

First line center Nicklas Backstrom is not practicing this morning at KCI, 24 hours after getting a day off. The team has not provided an update on his status, but he's been replaced by Brendan Morrison while Tomas Fleischmann has shifted to center on the second line.

As of right now, Coach Bruce Boudreau's playoff lineup looks like this:



I'll post an update as soon as I hear something about Backstrom, who has never missed a game and, according to the shift chart from Sunday's game, did not miss any playing time.

Backstrom has, however, missed parts of a few games in his career due to migraine headaches.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 13, 2010; 10:42 AM ET
 | Tags: Alexander Ovechkin, Brendan Morrison, Games, Nicklas Backstrom, Nicklas Bäckström, Tomas Fleischmann, Tomáš Fleischmann, Washington Capitals  
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Next: Jose Theodore named playoff starter


Are the trying to give me a heart attack!!!!! Backie where are you?????

Posted by: capscoach | April 13, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

An APB should be put out for Backstrom. Now's not exactly a good time to be MIA.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 13, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

He has a history of migraines. Chances are, that is all it is - and therefore there is no reason to be concerned.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 13, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully just a migraine and Nicky bounces back by tomorrow - or Thursday, really, that's when it counts. I do like that 2nd line though, a lot - Flash and Semin together, like they should be. And you need two scoring lines in the playoffs [see, Boston Bruins, for lack thereof, the last 40 years].

But that 2nd pairing on D scares the bejeezus out of me - BB, we get it already, you're a loyal employee and you want to make GMGM look good. Here's a hint though - the less you put Corvo out on the ice against good forwards, the better GMGM will look. Hopefully Carlson and Corvo get flipped by Game 2, or sooner.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 13, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

If Boudreau wants to improve the PK, there is one thing he can do that will help immensely - keep Poti off the PK. Have Schultz, Morrisonn, Green, and Carlson do the bulk of the PK.

Posted by: timmyv38 | April 13, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

If it's a migraine the history has been that he's better the next day.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 13, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It's likely a migraine and nothing to be concerned about.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 13, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@timmyv38: and for heaven's sake, keep Steckel off the PK.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | April 13, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@timmyv38 - totally agreed on those four D - Carlson's got those young legs, quick feet and good instincts - get him out on the ice, perfect for the PK! I know D is tough and PK D doubly so, but Corvo just seems to get caught out of position, time and again. And MTL's PP is no joke.

@ccCapsfan - also agreed on Steckel - yikes. But I do like guys like Semin, Nicky and Flash on the PK, especially going against the 2nd unit PP - keep them honest and back on their heels a little, especially when they're tired.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 13, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Anything other then a migraine would be horrible.

I understand everyone's love for Ovie, but Backstrom makes that first line go.

"Huge" would not even come close to describing what Backstrom missing would do to this team.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | April 13, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Has Carlson passed Alzner? Or maybe it is more correct to ask "How long ago did Carlson pass Alzner". Or is it a contract/salary cap thing that puts Carlson on the roster and keeps Alzner in Hershey. Didn't know if was talent or business.

Posted by: 1of9000 | April 13, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This is the first time I have ever hoped someone had a migraine.

Posted by: JohninMpls | April 13, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

1of9000 -

Boudreau says the only difference between the two is handedness. He likes to have 3 right handers and 3 left handers....whether thats all of it who knows...

Posted by: BACKS | April 13, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks BACKS. That's a good thing to have two d-men that good and that young!

Posted by: 1of9000 | April 13, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Wishing Backstrom well. At times, he is the most valuable player on the Caps. Agree with keeping Poti off PK. He's been playing pretty awful lately

Posted by: capsfan4toolong | April 13, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

its official i have started to panic

Posted by: NFeKPo | April 13, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Maybe he's signing a really huge contract right now for 10 years with the Caps. Fingers crossed.

Posted by: DDheartsCaps | April 13, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

It has nothing to do with a salary cap/roster issue. It's just that Carlson has surpassed Alzner on the depth charts, and him being a righty certainly helps his case.

Posted by: richmondphil | April 13, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

BB just said Backstrom was injured last game and questionable for game 1. Ovie also left practice early.

What is going on???!?!?!?

Posted by: adamkatzen | April 13, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Just saw Tarik's tweet that BB says Backstrom is injured! Let's hope it is only game 1 that he misses. We NEED him!

Posted by: KRI819 | April 13, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Is this all apart of BB's "mind games"? No way Backstrom misses Game 1.

Posted by: SuperZ3383 | April 13, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

This is BEYOND Crappy news!!!!!!

Posted by: capscoach | April 13, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse


>> he's busy signing the huge contract

now, THAT's the kind of thinking we like around here...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | April 13, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

8:24 AM Apr 12th via TweetDeck Boudreau on Caps being at full strength: “If the weapons are shooting bullets and not blanks, it's wonderful. Everyone is healthy.”

That was from yesterday... So how could Backstrom have gotten hurt in Sunday's game if BB said everyone was healthy yesterday?

Posted by: Caps8 | April 13, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't BB just going on after the game on Sunday about how everyone was healthy? What the crap is this?!? Recover fast, Nicky. We need you.

Posted by: ModestProposal | April 13, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

How can everybody be healthy yesterday if Backs was injured Sunday? What the he!! is going on here!

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 13, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

On second thought, before I jump on BB, it's entirely possible that Nick could have kept it quiet thinking he could sleep whatever it is off...

As long as he doesn't miss more than one, maybe two games, I think we'll be okay. If there's one thing I've noticed about the Caps this season, it's that the second-stringers seem to really step it up when a major player is missing from the roster. Fingers crossed.

Posted by: ModestProposal | April 13, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: richmondphil | April 13, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

contract signing....

Posted by: jay18 | April 13, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I am oddly nervous for this series. I almost think we need to get our legs under us and just play.

The hype is already too much! PP vs. PK, how will Jose do? Is Ovie ready to wear the C in the playoffs?

I say we just get out there and run them over. LGC!

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | April 13, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

JT named starter.

Posted by: adamkatzen | April 13, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Tarik's twitter says that Boudreau finally named Theodore the playoff starter (no surprise there). I'm hoping the fact that Ovie left practice early is nothing to worry about.

Posted by: Steph22 | April 13, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Where is ChickenLittle when you need him!!!??? No Backie could be a real problem.....need a little humor to lighten up my suddenly very dark mood!

Posted by: PhilR | April 13, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

We've had success with Ovie out of the lineup -but it's far easier to replace a winger (even one of Ovie's talents) than it is to replace a center.

Loosing Backstrom, a first line center is nothing short of a catastrophy for the Caps. I doubt another center has played more than 10 shifts with Ovechkin all year.

In addition to a severaly deminished first line, the Caps now have a "not really a center" to anchor their second line. Flash at centermeans a lot of lost draws - which means the second line is going to be playing without the puck an awful lot. That's bad news for a puck control team with a suspect defense.

The trickle down effect pretty much stops at the third line because of GMGM's deadline pickup of Belenger. Even so, Washington's first and second lines play upwards of 70% of the game.

I've updated my predictions - if Washington looses the services of Backstrom for any more than 1 game it's going to be a problem. With him out 1 game I have this series still going to Washington - but in 7 games.

Backstrom is the one player Washington can't loose. He might not be a better player than Ovechkin - but he's definetly more important to this team.

Posted by: patrone | April 13, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I could care less about Theodore right now. I want to know what's up with Backs and Ovie. Everything else is irrelevant.

Posted by: Gambrills4 | April 13, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I might be the only person on Earth, but I'd recall Aucoin and make him center for Ovi if backie is out. That way everything else stays the same.

Posted by: tominfl1 | April 13, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

keep in mind that backstrom never got an "off" day...he's there for the meetings, guaranteed...just a rest and recoup day for the body

Posted by: carsonspence | April 13, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

so much for EVERYONE being healthy. the other players are really gonna have to step it up now if we don't have backstrom in the line up.

Posted by: natresgroup | April 13, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Feeling much better since going to ESPN and reading what Burnside had to say....Apparently Tarik did not tweet the whole quote from BB....."Backstrom is questionable but probable for game one".....sounds like a simple ouchy to me and he will be ready to go.

Posted by: PhilR | April 13, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Carson. No one else wants to call BS on this? There was nothing apparently wrong with Backstrom Sunday, and Boudreau didn't stress anything yesterday. The kid has played 82 straight game and the olympics. Let him rest for an otherwise "mandatory" practice...

Posted by: BACKS | April 13, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"Boudreau also said Nicklas Backstrom "does not feel well." when asked about food poisoning, he said, "Don't know. He is sick."

-from Corey Masisak's twitter (cmasisak22)

Posted by: vtcaps08 | April 13, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, Backstrom just took the day off to sign his new contract and BB is just playing mind games with the Habs. Guys have played in the playoffs with broken feet, separated shoulders, torn MCLs, and even damaged testicles, so I really expect him to play game 1. If he doesn't then I'd worry.

Even if Backs is out for a game or two, I don't think the Caps are doomed. Morrison is a good defensive player and a decent passer. He's probably not going to provide much offense, but it's not needed. Remember the Pens series last year, Ovi got 15pts playing primarily with Feds and Kozzy. Also Green and Semin were playing hurt, Fehr was out, Beagle and Sloan were in and this team still took them to 7 games when it should have ended in 5. This team has proven to be stronger than one player.

Posted by: ablake70 | April 13, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Well that was a relatively important part of the quote! Rest up Backs and PLEASE be healthy for the playoffs.

I hope they are really careful to make sure that Backie os ready to play when he does...i'd rather him miss a game than come back too soon and create a nagging injury for the whole cup run!

Posted by: capscoach | April 13, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I think Gabby is having some fun with the Canadiens and the media and letting his two best players rest a little extra since they didn't rest at all the last two weeks when everyone else did. Bet your bottom dollar Nicky is on the ice 23 minutes on Thursday, with Ovie.

Posted by: dcmusician2 | April 13, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Theo is 20-0-3. How hard a decision is that?

I'll bet Backstrom's absence is front page news already in Montreal.

Anyone ever see the video of Ovi announcing the pick of Backstrom at the draft. He didn't want to do it..., you know, in front of all those people and all. He finally did but he is better at slapshots than public speaking. What a great pick that was.

Posted by: rjma1 | April 13, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

BB is definitely playing games. First he said Backstrom was *injured* in the Boston game. Then he "clarified" that Backstrom is ill.

Is he making a migraine sound more serious than it is? Or is he making an injury sound less serious than it is?

He also said Backstrom is "probable" for Game 1. That makes the first possibility seems more likely to me. (Sure hope so.)

Posted by: garbageout | April 13, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I hope BB is messing with the Habs - but that means these "updates" messes with Caps fans, too! C'mon Bruce, fill us in- we'll keep it a secret!

Posted by: Section416akatheAlps | April 13, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Steckel can win a lot of faceoffs and that is key to defeating the PP.

Posted by: Shiba-fussa | April 13, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom has a history of migraines and for those of us who suffer from them, they are often more than a 'bad headache'. They generally cause other symptoms which is why BB likely used the term 'sick' rather than injured when discussing his status. If the current migraine was the result of a hit he took Sunday that resulted in a migraine on Monday, he's still likely shaking off the affects today. The issue with a migraine issue is that they sometimes trigger headaches on multiple days which is why BB is listing him as questionable for Thursday. It's not like a common cold which needs to run its course.

I'm no doctor but am sure the Capitals team doctors won't clear him to play on Thursday unless the symptoms have subsided (assuming this is another migraine). I sincerely Backs is feeling better tomorrow and ready to play on Thursday as we don't have a No. 2 center that came come close to replicating Backstrom's playmaking. I shudder at the thought of Morrisson or Belanger centering Ovie and Kuble on our No. 1 line.

Posted by: wizfan89 | April 13, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Now I have a migraine...

Posted by: jack_mo_99 | April 13, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

People make too much that Flash hasn't been great on road faceoffs - really , too big a deal about faceoffs in general - the hard truth is most draws don't matter a whole lot, except in certain specified situations.

But, they're an easy stat to track, and give journalists something to write about. I don't care how good Steckel is at faceoffs, MTL's puck movement and skating on the PP with guys like Plekanec, Markov and Gionta - they might eat him alive.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | April 13, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

If it makes anyone feel better i have a migrane and I usually get them the same day Backie does (seriously, every time). So fingers crossed..

Posted by: kmr2r | April 13, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

OMG kmr2r, I have one too! I contribute it to the change in air pressure.

"Please God, make sure Backis is well for game one. If you do, I promise not to call Sidney Crosby "Cindy" anymore..." (Okay, not really, but it sounded good!)

Posted by: capswench | April 13, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

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