BALLSTON, Va. - Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom said that he "felt pretty good" during Thursday's practice and will travel with the team on their two-game road trip, which begins Saturday against the San Jose Sharks.
"I felt pretty good out there," Backstrom said. "I'm just following all the steps that have been made. I'm doing what they tell me to do, so we'll see."
Backstrom, who wore a gray jersey and skated on the second line with Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble, fully participated in the hour-long practice and showed no apparent limitations as he skated hard.
"I feel fine," he said. "You've got to push yourself to know where exactly you are. I have the history of migraines before, too, so it's kind of hard to tell. Whatever it is, it seems to be fine."
Backstrom left Tuesday's 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames with just over three minutes remaining after receiving an elbow from Rene Bourque midway through the third period. Backstrom returned after the initial hit and took a few more shifts, but ultimately left the game. The NHL suspended Bourque for five games Wednesday.
"I felt alright after the hit and then a couple minutes later, then it was really bad and I had to leave the game but that happens," Backstrom said of the hit from Bourque.
Wednesday, Backstrom took part in off-ice workouts, but did not skate. According to tweets from Backstrom's brother, Kristoffer, Nicklas underwent concussion testing; the results were inconclusive. As Backstrom noted, he has a history of migraine headaches. He is formally listed as "day-to-day."
When asked if he would play Saturday, Backstrom said that the decision was not up to him. Head coach Dale Hunter said that the team will decide Friday on Backstrom's status for Saturday. Regardless, Backstrom's presence was a positive sign for Washington.
"By practicing and doing the whole practice with his line, it's better than we thought, which is good for us," Hunter said.