BALLSTON, VA - Despite all of the injuries that the Washington Capitals played through during the playoffs, Nicklas Backstrom was not one the players hampered by physical ailments, according to head coach Bruce Boudreau and general maanger George McPhee.
Backstrom struggled throughout the postseason, only earning two assists and in nine games. He suffered a fractured thumb February 21 against the Pittsburgh Penguins and missed the first five games of his career in early March while recovering. Yet, he was healthy come playoff time.
"Nicky was not playing hurt, I don't believe," McPhee said. "He may have the garden variety stuff, but nothing major. He did fracture his thumb and played through that, which was pretty darn impressive. I think he sat out one or two games, but I'm amazed at how some of these guys play through some of these things. It's hard to brush your teeth or open a car door or do anything, but they're playing the game."
Boudreau agreed, saying that it was just a matter of bad luck that bit Backstrom.
"He's one of those guys that doesn't tell you if he's hurting," Boudreau said. "Other than scoring goals, he did everything else right. His confidence left him a little bit and he was squeezing his stick a little tight, but no one wanted to win or play better than Nicky."
Backstrom had 47 assists and 65 points this season, both of which were career lows. His last goal of the season came March 22 against the Philadelphia Flyers and he only scored three goals during December and January. In a season marked with disappointment for the team as a whole, Backstrom felt it on a more personal level.
"I wasn't as good as I should be," Backstrom said. "I take full responsibility for that."