As the regular season draws nearer for the Caps, so does the return of Nicklas Backstrom and Brooks Orpik.
Backstrom skated Tuesday in a light blue non-contact jersey signaling he has not yet fully recovered from his arthroscopic hip surgery, but his continued progression has given the team reason to believe he can return sooner than the original timeline projected.
"Originally it's 0 to 10 games," said general manager Brian MacLellan. "Now it seems to be four or five games. There's still uncertainty there, but looks like he's progressing well."
Head coach Barry Trotz was more guarded with his comments, stressing the uncertainty of the situation. He told the media that Backstrom will visit with his surgeon next week to assess his status.
"That will probably gives us a tighter timeframe." Trotz said.
Still, the feeling within the Caps is clearly hopeful. When Trotz was asked if Backstrom's status contributed to the team's decision to release center Derek Roy from his tryout contract, Trotz said, "Yeah, it did."
The news is also hopeful for Orpik as the veteran defenseman was not wearing a non-contact jersey at practice. When asked about his status, Trotz said that, barring any setback, he expects Orpik to play in Saturday's opener.