What’s Wrong with Nicklas Backstrom?


When it comes to injury reports and updates, the NHL reporting is mostly insufficient for avid fans anxiously awaiting the return of one of their team’s players.  Take Nicklas Backstrom, for instance.  As a diehard Washington Capitals fan, I have been looking through Rotowire updates, NHL.com, and even ProSportsTransactions for any little morsel of information.  The majority of them state “upper body injury day to day” or even the descriptive “hand injury.”


You may have seen the updates from Capitals Coach Barry Trotz recently as “optimistic” for his return.  This has seemingly been each of the last 2 games.  But Backstrom has yet to play.  So like an obsessed fan with the internet and a MacBook Pro, I searched for video replay of his actual injury.  To my surprise, I found one.  I will give credit to the NHL for having video and then discussing the ways in which Backstrom can play by “taping” his hand and getting it into his glove.  Literally Darren Pang is taping the other guy’s hand for the example.  The truth is, they have no idea what his injury is either.


Nicklas Backstrom. (Original Photographer: Dan4th on Flickr)


The only problem is that Nicklas Backstrom hasn’t played since game 5 of the second round.   Like all good hockey guys, he sold out for his team and blocked a slapshot with the back of his right hand.  Obviously not ideal, but hey, it’s the playoffs.  On inspection of the video, it looks like the puck connects about halfway down his glove right before his index and 3rd finger begin.  Later in the video, Backstrom is seen walking with his hand and wrist immobilized.


I literally have no medical information/imaging, nor am I an NHL insider, so I am merely speculating at this point.  But given this is the Playoffs, and he has missed 4 crucial games, could this be more serious?  Maybe or maybe not?  It is reasonable to think if he had an unstable fracture/break to various bones of his hand (i.e. the small carpal bones or the metacarpal bones that are between the “fingers” and these carpal bones), he may have already had surgery to stabilize his hand.  Maybe the team would have provided this information.  If, however, he has a stable fracture or “a non-displaced fracture”, he may be splinted for a few weeks and possibly resume playing.  Hopefully, Backstrom just has a significant bone contusion causing severe discomfort and in actuality is “day to day”.


Whatever the injury, the Caps are rolling.  Hopefully this continues, giving Backstrom continued recovery time, even if they continue to report “optimism” on his return for Game 3.