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What will Backstrom's absence mean for Burakovsky?

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What will Backstrom's absence mean for Burakovsky?

While Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has made it clear he has not suffered a setback in his recovery from May 27 hip surgery, his slow but steady progress may not allow him to be ready for the Capitals’ season opener on Oct. 10 against the New Jersey Devils.

 “I really don’t know,” Backstrom told Swedish newspaper Gefle Dagblad. (Translation here). “It’s such a hard question to answer. That’s something we will look at going forward, and we’ll evaluate the situation with help from the trainer and the fitness trainer.”

Backstrom told the newspaper he has skated five times since the surgery.

“I didn’t want to go on ice before I was ready for it,” he said. “I waited until it felt OK to skate again. Because of the injury I had to postpone my on-ice training compared to when I have done it in years past. But there is still time to go at it before the season starts.”

Backstrom is expected to return to Washington in early September but is not expected to be cleared for contact for the start of training camp on Sept. 18. He said he has been working out with conditioning coach Andreas Ohgren for the past two months.

“We have been focusing on getting the mobility back in the hip,” Backstrom said. “At first I couldn’t run or do anything like that. That’s why I waited until just recently to go on ice. He has many new ideas for rotation exercises and is focused on that the training should be similar to the movements we use when we play hockey.”

With Backstrom likely to miss most or all of training camp, Evgeny Kuznetsov is expected to take his place on a top line with left wing Alex Ovechkin and right wing T.J. Oshie. Backstrom’s absence could also mean an extended look at center for 20-year-old Andre Burakovsky, who spent most of last season at left wing. Marcus Johansson and Brooks Laich, who also played left wing last season, also could see time at the center position throughout the seven-game preseason schedule, which begins Sept. 21.

RELATED: LW lock: Ovechkin missing only one thing on his resume

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With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

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USA Today

With Caps in Vancouver, Jay Beagle receives his ring

On June 7 in Las Vegas, Jay Beagle was in a Capitals uniform as they hoisted their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Three weeks later, the 33-year-old signed a four-year, $12-million contract with the Vancouver Canucks

The Capitals begin a four-game, Canadian road trip this evening in Vancouver. Beagle did not attend the Capitals ring ceremony at the Palm three weeks ago so the Caps awarded Beagle with his ring today.

Each ring contains 252 diamonds, 35 rubies and one sapphire. Beagle was impressed but isn't sure how much use the ring will get.

“Not sure I’ll wear it again. It’s like wearing my truck.”

Jay Beagle will not be on the ice tonight against his former team. Beagle broke his forearm when he blocked a shot against the Florida Panthers on October 13th. Beagle is expected to be sidelined for another five weeks.

Despite the injury, it has still been a great week for Beagle. 

A shiny, new ring AND a baby girl. Not too shabby.

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4 things to watch in Capitals at Canucks

4 things to watch in Capitals at Canucks

It’s going to be a late night. The Caps are in Vancouver to take on the Canucks (10 p.m., NBC Sports Washington Plus) for the first of a four-game swing through Canada. Grab your coffee, here are four things you need to watch.

Offensive firepower

Washington enters Monday’s game with the top offense in the NHL with 4.14 goals per game. Vancouver had one of the worst defenses in the league last year. They have looked much improved at the start of this season, but they are still giving up 3.00 goals per game. Washington’s high-powered superstars should be able to take advantage and get some points on the board.

Adjusted lines

The fact that Washington has the top offense in the NHL is surprising considering how much their depth forwards have struggled to produce. Prior to Friday’s game against the Florida Panthers, the Caps had gotten only two goals from the bottom six and both had come in the season-opener. After seeing his team go down 4-1 against Florida, head coach Todd Reirden shuffled up the lines and it seemed to create a spark for the offense.

Reirden indicated Sunday he will stick with those lines and he kept them together for Monday’s morning skate:

Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Devante Smith-Pelly
Chandler Stephenson – Nicklas Backstrom – T.J. Oshie
Jakub Vrana – Lars Eller – Brett Connolly
Dmitrij Jaskin – Nic Dowd – Andre Burakovsky

Vrana, Connolly and Smith-Pelly all scored after the change. Per the Caps’ PR team, the third line of Vrana, Eller and Connolly produced two goals, eight shot attempts and allowed just three shot attempts in over six minutes of five-on-five play.

Special teams

In addition to having the top offense in the NHL, the Caps also boast the top power play. With the extra man, the Caps are producing on 38.5-percent of their opportunities. That is most likely not a sustainable number, but it does show the power play is as good as ever.

The Canucks come into this game ranked eighth on the penalty kill at 83.9-percent and they will be the latest team to try and slow down a power play that is really starting to click with John Carlson seemingly developing into one of the top blue liners in the NHL.

Remember me?

Vancouver’s star rookie Elias Pettersson is still in concussion protocol and will not play in Monday’s game, but there is another talented youngster who will the Caps will need to watch out for in Brock Boeser.

Boeser was in a dead heat with New York Islanders forward Matt Barzal for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year last season before an injury forced him to miss the last month of the season.

In two career games against Washington, Boeser has recorded three assists. He has had a bit of a slower start to the season with five points thus far, but he is a dynamic talent who the Caps’ defense will have to account for.

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