The Washington Capitals have announced center Nicklas Backstrom will return to action on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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This will be the 35-year-old Swede's first game in 2022-23, as he had to recover from hip surgery he underwent last offseason.
Backstrom will also become only the second National League hockey player to play again after hip resurfacing surgery.
In 2013-2014, defender Ed Jovanovski managed to play one last campaign after his time under the knife, before opting for retirement.
“I feel very good,” said Backstrom, whose remarks were translated by the French-language National League website.
“I enjoy being on the ice. I have worked hard in the past few weeks. I went through several steps that were necessary. Right now it's all about rehearsals, skating, conditioning and all that. »
Last year, the 35-year-old pivot was limited to 47 games. He still had six goals and 25 assists for 31 points. The loyal accomplice of sniper Alex Ovechkin has 1011 points in 1058 games in the Bettman circuit.
Tom Wilson too
Backstrom won't be the only Caps member to play his first game of the campaign against the Jackets, as winger Tom Wilson will also make a return.
The 28-year-old forward is recovering from knee surgery he underwent after being injured in Game 1 of the first-round series against the Florida Panthers last year.
"Over the past few weeks, I've felt like myself again, and it's only a matter of time," Wilson said recently. I feel better and better, I don't worry about it and I don't think about it too much. It's the last step in this process where you want to find your bearings and not think about rehabilitation and all that entails, but just playing hockey.
In 78 games during the 2021-22 season, Wilson hit the target 24 times and provided 28 assists for 52 points.