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Boudreau: Backstrom suffering from migraine

First line center Nicklas Backstrom missed the final 39 minutes of today's 2-1 loss in Los Angeles with a migraine headache, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau.

I did not see Backstrom after the game. A team spokesman said he had gone to the team bus before the visitors' dressing room was opened to reporters.

"I hope it's not too serious," Boudreau said. "I don't think so anyway. He had a migraine, was the report I've gotten. He's had them before. Hopefully with the proper medicine he'll be ready to go" Tuesday against Montreal.

Backstrom has yet to miss a game in his NHL career, but has left a game on more than one occasion because of a migraine.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  January 2, 2010; 7:04 PM ET
 | Tags: Nicklas Backstrom  
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Oh my god, this is great news!

Rest up are the key to this team..

Posted by: richmondphil | January 2, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse


To make myself clear, I don't doubt at all the the trade has had some kind of effect on the team.

However, do I think it's effecting the on-ice product, especially to the point of the results of the last 3? Hell no...there are deeper issues causing this slump, and I think they have all been touched upon by myself or other posters. (Go read tmac2yao's posts)

Posted by: richmondphil | January 2, 2010 7:13 PM |

Posted by: richmondphil | January 2, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Clark was a great Cap and Captain, but you can't lead if you aren't contributing on the ice. Due to age and injuries, Clark was just no longer able to contribute. Good guy, but he's not the reason the team is playing poorly.

Lack of energy can be a problem on west coast trips, so maybe that is explainable. However, I expected more after the two tough practices and BB getting in the players' faces. Particularly troubling was that the Caps skill players were getting run all game (Green and Backstrom), and the Caps did not respond.

Posted by: zmega | January 2, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the hit Backstrom took where his head hit the glass could have triggered the migraine? Let's hope he's back for Tuesday. We need to REALLY rock the red for Montreal and get this team back on track. I think we should all chill out a bit, though. It's a long season, there will be lulls. Pittsburgh has lost 4 straight (including to Tampa! today). I don't think people in Pittsburgh are looking to dump Malkin.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | January 2, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Heartbreak for the Russians at the World Juniors. Switzerland wins 3-2 in OT.

Russians had the 2-1 lead with 30 or so seconds left, then Niederreiter scores off a rebound from a Russian defenseman. IN OT with about 20 seconds left, Niederreiter shoots the puck, it gets redirected by one of his teammates, and they score.

Epic way to lose for the Russians.

Posted by: elicea | January 2, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

RichmondPhil - you must not believe a word GMGM said. He plainly stated the reason this deal was done was to fill a hole at the LW position. The question was directly asked to him was it to clear more space and he said emphatically no that there's already enough space to do whatever we want. Regardless of whether it is/was a good trade it was NOT because of cap space.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | January 2, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

@zmega: "but you can't lead if you aren't contributing on the ice."

Clark was contributing on the ice. He may not have been producing points, but he did the little things like getting the puck deep, or backchecking and not committing a penalty.

Other than that bit, I do agree with your post. The trade has nothing to do with how poorly the Caps are playing. At least it better not have anything to do with the recent performance or Caps don't deserve to be considered a cup contender.

Posted by: elicea | January 2, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse


I think it was the second of those two consecutive hits that probably shook Backstrom up.

The one where he went left shoulder first into the end boards.

The possibility that it was a migraine issue again crossed my mind after I saw the replay between the 2nd and 3rd periods because he didn't seem to be favoring anything.

Hopefully, he recovers quickly and, more importantly, let's hope there aren't many more of the incidences over the course of his career and life, for that matter.

Posted by: tmac2yao | January 2, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface - Based on what GMGM said, he views Chimera as an upgrade over Clark (at this stage in Clark's career). In addition, the Caps helped clear the logjam among the d-men (though not the way I would have preferred) so that they can see what they have with Alzner. But certainly the salary cap effect is significant and provides flexibility for possible moves later in the year.

Posted by: zmega | January 2, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Migraines friggin blow, so it sucks he got one, but that's good news that it's not something that will (or should) keep him out for a long time. Hopefully it is healed by Tuesday's game and he can get this team going, because they have stunk the last three games.

Posted by: Aldred15 | January 2, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Had to finally drop in. There is no question after three straight pathetic losses that the trade, made for whatever reason, was plain dumb and disruptive to the team. The team was hot and claiming important, meaningful victories. Now, they are languishing in a rut. Why McPhee picked this time to make a trade is beyond belief. When I heard it on the radio I just knew they would be headed for a slide. You don't mess around with chemistry when a team is on a high.

Now, to the players. Friends, the Caps are not an elite team. I cannot imagine any top, top team, like Chicago and San Jose or even New Jersey playing the way, in mid-season, the Caps have played. Sloppy, uninspired play. Stupid mistakes -- getting outhustled, outsmarted and just plain outplayed game after game. Our defense needs shoring up. We need to find a forecheck and be physical consistently. Otherwise, our Stanley Cup speech is a joke. We cannot compete with truly elite teams.

Further, no elite team has inexperienced or just plain ordinary goaltending. Hopefully, Varly will be the answer this season but remember he is a rookie. Theodore is not the answer. Too inconsistent, too many soft goals on a regular basis. Neuvy is calm at least and will be an NHL-calibre netminder, but he too is a rookie. Do Chicago, San Jose, Jersey or the Pens have a rotating, unknown quantity in net. You bet they don't.

Watch the commitment and effort put forth every game by San Jose and Chicago. It is amazing to watch. Don't get me wrong but the Caps need to think team, principally team defense and get at it every night.

Enough excuses. Yeah, I bought into the hard practices by Coach and going back to basics and hoping they would come out fired up and focused tonight. Another false hope. Look, ask yourself, why does it seem the Caps are always losing out to the goaltender who stands on his head, why do we allow so many shorthanded goals, what team gives up two, count it two, penalty shot goals in game. Unheard of.

I love the Caps but they have serious work to do. They should watch some tape of how "elite" teams get it done. They are far short of that status now.

Posted by: analyzerman | January 2, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

the pens were NOT even almong the top 8 teams in the conference this time last year... the regular season is just for a show, the big boys come out to play in the playoffs.

get a grip!

Posted by: joek443 | January 2, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

@analyzerman: The Penguins have lost 4 in a row including an embarrassing loss to Tampa Bay today. I'm not happy about the last 3 games, but I think you are overreacting. RE: goaltending, the Blackhawks are going to have to rely on Huet to win a Cup. Please compare our first round goaltending two years ago with Huet to our first round goaltending last year with Varly. I like that matchup.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | January 2, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Clearly not time for panic, but a degree of concern is appropriate. BB was concerned when he scheduled the hard practices, etc., right? We've had one additional uninspired effort since then.

Posted by: zmega | January 2, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

analyzerman are the Pens not an elite team then? They have lost 4 straight including 2 to Tampa and Toronto. And they don't even have any injuries or trades to blame.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 2, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse


While I am a Nicky fan, I don't think one lost game means we cannot win without him. We lost 2 in a row before this with him. Do we want to play without him on a regular basis? No! But I think more is going on.

I do think the trade affects the team -- not just missing your former teamamtes and the alteration to chemistry, but each player has to be wondering which one is expendable next? It seemed like such a surprise, especially after settling Nylander GMGM and/or BB said they were in no hurry to do anything just because they suddenly had cap space. So, no one probably really thought about a trade that would free up more.


Others were trying; Semin had 6 shots and Laich & Green each had 3. Ironically, the night I thought they were trying a little harder to take shots and get it to the next for garbage goals, the refs were waayy too quick on the whistle which negated our chances.

Re Chimera, I think he's had a decent first 2 games. When the whole team is in a funk, it's hard to point the finger at the new guy and say he is not going enough!

Posted by: Steakum | January 2, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse


Considering that the Caps have been around first place in the entire league for most of the season, I'd say that the Caps qualify as one of your elite teams. Its just a rough stretch, don't worry.

Posted by: Unitedfury | January 2, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Maybe there is overreacting on both sides. The argument on one side now is to say look at the Penguins last year at this time. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Gonchar out with a long term injury? When he got back on the blue line the team started coming on. The other side says that the Caps aren't built for the playoffs and the trade has damaged the teams morale. Maybe the truth is somewhere in between. Maybe the Caps will storm back and ride into the playoffs on a high note, but like it or not there seems to be some residual letdown from the trade. These guys were like a family and playing well. They walk in at 4:30pm on game day and somebody whispers in the locker room that the team captain and another teammate have been sent off to Columbus with no warning. If you were a player who had devoted himself to the McPhee/Boudreau/Leonsis system, would this make you feel warm and fuzzy? Yes I know they're professional athletes and get paid lots of money, but this does not exclude them from being affected emotionally. If you watch the video interview on the CBJ website, it appears that Jurcina and Clark aren't "over it". I'm not saying it wasn't a good trade, I'm just saying maybe it screwed up the Caps team vibe. Maybe the Caps will get over it, and maybe they should get over it (because they're big boys), but then again maybe they just quietly won't. Remember how the team shut it down a few years ago because of their lack of confidence in Bruce Cassidy? Stuff happens. I hope I'm wrong. Go Caps!

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 2, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

What happened tonight? The explanation is simple.

The key players on the Capitals are playing in a way not to be injured for the Olympics. That's just the way it is...who can blame them?

Ask each Capitals player: why get injured when you have a stage to play the same game in front of the global audience? The marketing/exposure benefits for each player has tremendous upside. Why risk injury for your NHL team?

The actual season will continue in late February. That's just how it is in each of the Olympic years.

Posted by: hlalor | January 2, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

THAT'S an angle I never considered. It never occurred to me that players would do that. Guess I'm naive. I don't really buy that as an explanation, though.

Glad Nicky left because of a migraine rather than a shoulder injury (oops, guess I should say "upper body injury"), and I hope he's ready to face the Habs and Sens at home.

Go Caps!

Posted by: wocoliz | January 2, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow--a lot to read. Well first I do think the Caps played better than they have in the last two games. We're still uneven--came out overly cautious in the first which is different from loose and sloppy.

The refs were awfully quick with the whistle at the net, especially with the denied goal.

IMO part of the line confusion came from having to rotate centers in after Backs went out so early in the 2nd period. All that work they did on lines essentially went out the window.

They improved their shots on goal in the 2nd and 3rd, indeed outshot the Kings, and I can't fault them for not putting away that 5 on 3 because they did get the puck in the net but the ref thought the puck was dead.

The whistle for dead puck with 10 seconds was suspect to me--the first one I could understand since Quick had his glove over the puck and the stick. But the puck never stopped bouncing for that last one. Oh well--part of the game.

They are sure are going to get an earful from BB about the second goal--brain fart that's all I can figure--including Ovi. Totally misread where the puck was going. IMO that's where they lost the game.

The boys need to come home and get a good night's rest. They will regroup. But time to calm the emotions down and work out their frustrations.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 2, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse


Which teams do you consider to be "elite" teams?

I assume New Jersey and Pittsburgh would be on your list. And San Jose.

Should we also include Detroit?

How on Earth did Chicago get so much better so suddenly?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

While I am a Nicky fan, I don't think one lost game means we cannot win without him. We lost 2 in a row before this with him. Do we want to play without him on a regular basis? No! But I think more is going on.

Posted by: Steakum | January 2, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I actually don't think the Caps can win without Backs... in a way he's more valuable to the team than Ovie because of his position.

Having BMo and Laich as your number one and two centers won't get outta the first round of the playoffs

Posted by: joek443 | January 2, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Dang it. I cut my vacation a day short and flew back to LA to see my beloved Caps play another listless game. Sigh. At least I can report that there were a TON of Caps fans at the Staples Center. Red everywhere.

Posted by: CyborgSquirrel1 | January 2, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

As for not playing hard because of the Olympics somebody forgot to give Ovi the message. The Caps came out hitting including in the first period.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 2, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Have to agree withJoe443--he is our only elite center. But he's a durable guy and we are months away from the playoffs.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | January 2, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: kmr2r | January 2, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I got this info off the “Peerless Prognosticator” site or some of it, anyhow.

A certain “star” player is in a slump, as his team is slumping.

1) He’s had no goals, 1 assist, and was -4 in his last 4 games.

2) He makes 8.7 Million in salary (yes, more than Semin)

3) He’s had over 50 minutes in penalties this year, all of them minor. (Yes, folks that's more penalty minutes than Semin, like nearly twice.)

Guess if this guy were on our team, people would want him traded. I’m talking about ….. Evgeni Malkin.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse


Given the Caps' track record against the Sharks and the Kings, will there be as many people in red there next year.

Why the bleep can't they beat West Coast teams? Or do the Kings just have us figured out and the rest of the league should start taking lessons?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse


Two of the teams that just beat us also have a lot of players earmarked for Olympic teams so I'm not sure I buy into your argument either.

This is the first Caps game I've seen in a while and they looked out of sync to me, especially in the first period. But they have made progressive improvement over the last three games in that they were only 1-0 down after one period. BTW, they could have easily given up 5 penalties in that first period. In the end, they were unlucky not to have won this game, a couple of good chances were missed and Quick was good and also lucky.

Of more concern to me is that they are going to have a hard time in the playoffs unless they can learn how to overcome teams that play a good forechecking game.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | January 2, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I blame much of the last three losses on BB. The other team is matching up better with their pairings. Also the line change transition needs work. That is on the coaches shoulders. I have watched the last two games both Carolina and San Jose now twice. Then he wants to change his offensive pairing every two minutes. It makes it hard to have chemistry or cohesion. Even when things are going well with the team he wants to constantly change cohesion and mix it up. I know their are internal things that noone on this board kmows of but at times I wonder about the sanity of changing what works. I actually thought the Caps played well tonight minus a couple of costly mistakes. Strong defensive play by everyone on the team. More physical and more intense.

Posted by: pkme | January 2, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

looks like hershey played on friday and today. none of the games varly started. i hope all is ok.

Posted by: samb99 | January 2, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse


I'm concerned also. It seems that the Caps can't win very many low scoring games.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse


I agree. My point was that we just lost 2 in a row before this and I do not think we lost this particular game just because Nicky had a migraine. I think more than that is going on right now.

We definitely need Nicky in the line-up. But, we did not lose this game because he was missing most of it.

Posted by: Steakum | January 2, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

"see my beloved Caps play another listless game."

Listless? What game were you at?

Posted by: OvechkinFan92801 | January 2, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse


Could Semin's wrist be bothering him? Sounds like Corey said it was on Monday.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Why is the Olympics all professionals these days? Anyone know how and why this changed?

Posted by: pkme | January 2, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse


I assume it changed because many countries, like the Soviet Union, were using de facto professionals as their Olympic team. Going against the "spirit" of using amateurs. So, it was time to make it a more "level playing field" so to speak.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse


I have not heard anymore about that since he went off the ice in that game. However, it seems that he's had a bit more trouble getting shots off since then. If he's wearing a brace under his glove, it would make his wrist rigid and affect his shot.

Posted by: Steakum | January 2, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday Tarik tweeted that Semin was doing pushups. Coach BB probably would not have ordered pushups if Semin's wrist was hurt.

Posted by: uncatim | January 2, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse


For years there was much complaining by the U.S. and others that Soviet bloc countries had an advantage in the Olympics because they started training children at a young age for certain sports, sent them to schools for those sports, and allowed the families more resources if the children excelled. They were professional in every way but title.

To me, a more recent corollary is that Semin, Ovi (I think), and other Russian players could satisfy their military obligation by playing on certain hockey teams.

Posted by: Steakum | January 2, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse


Forgot about that, that's true. Would like to have seen that!

Posted by: Steakum | January 2, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse


I've heard nothing more on Semin's wrist.

He had several shots on goal but none going in.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse


I heard something similar. Russians can fulfill their military obligations by playing hockey on Russian teams (but not on foreign teams).

The Russsian (or rather Soviet) hockey team was run by their army.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse


Holtby got both starts this weekend, so far.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse


that was my point. i would have thought varly would have started one to get in condition. not starting seems to be a red flag

Posted by: samb99 | January 2, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Hershy has another home game tomorrow. They said all along that Varly would play either today or tomorrow. Irbe is in Hershy working with him and the other goalies, and they probalby decided that Sunday was the better opportunity for him, so I wouldn't start worrying unless he isn't in net tomorrow.

Posted by: sleepy3 | January 2, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

@samb99 & sleepy3

I assumed that Varly would have started today in order not to burn out Holtby who did back to backs this weekend. (Holtby was a little less sharp today. Gave up 3 goals in 30 shots. But even that isn't bad.)

I agree with sleepy. If Varly doesn't start tomorrow, then I'll really worry.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | January 2, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse


Unfortunately, I was back East and received tickets to the Carolina game too. This was better, but not by much. 4 measly SOG in the first period isn't going to help you win a game. Green's goal kept it closer than the scored looked. Listless? I think so. Sloppy? For sure.

Posted by: CyborgSquirrel1 | January 3, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Ottawa-Flyers is now on NHL network. Some of us would like to see a trade with the Sens for a certain d-man. Ottawa seems to have a desperate need for a goalie. I doubt they would be interested in Theo the way he has played, and the Caps aren't going to trade Varlamov IMO. But maybe Neuwirth? Maybe the Caps have been showcasing him lately? What the heck, throw in Poti to better match the salaries.

BTW, just got NHL network and it is great this time of year, for those of us without a life. At 5pm, Canada (with Caps prospect S. Della Rovere) gets a walkover against Switzerland. At 9 pm, its Sweden (M. Johansson) vs. U.S. (J. Carlson). The US vs. Canada preliminary game was a classic, with great wide open style like Olympic hockey should be.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I should mention, the international hockey is the semi's of the World Junior Championships.

Posted by: zmega | January 3, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

live tv and live score for free

Posted by: d1g00f | January 5, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

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