|Nick Backstrom suffered a fractured thumb last night. Gulp.|
The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, which was covering the game last night, has reported that Nicklas Backstrom fractured his left thumb against the Penguins when Kris Letang slashed him across the hand. There was no penalty called on the play, and Backstrom finished the game. However, X-Rays taken after the contest clearly showed a fracture in the finger. The pivot is day-to-day for now, and said after the game that he did not feel "that bad" and that he would "wait and see for a few days." The Capitals are off for three days until they play again, which should give Capitals trainer Greg Smith and his team all the time they need to make a proper diagnosis and plan a course of action. This really could not have come at a worse time for the Capitals, with them finally rolling a bit, and their lack of depth down the middle could force George McPhee to make a move for a center and give up something he does not want to in order to make that deal happen. Regardless of whether or not Backstrom toughs this out, which I believe he will do everything humanly possible to try and do, a broken finger will affect everything Nicky does on the ice. Will he be afraid to block a shot for fear of it hitting his hand? Afraid to lay a hit? Will his stickhandling and passing be shot? These are all tough questions that as of now, we have no answers for. Pray for Backy's finger. Please.
UPDATE (1:15 PM, 2/22/11) - Caps beat writer Sky Kerstein has been informed by a Capitals representative that Backstrom is officially "day-to-day", as determined by the team. He is not expected to miss a significant portion of time, if he misses any at all. The Capitals have today off and he, like the rest of his teammates, is at home resting. He is expected to be present at Kettler Capitals Iceplex tomorrow morning for further evaluation, but it seems at this point that the Caps may have avoided the long-term loss of their second-best player.