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At the Rink blog

Caps' Backstrom cleared for contact

Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 11:31 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Caps' Backstrom cleared for contact
The Washington Capitals did not make a move at the trade deadline, but they could be getting closer to a key addition that could help save their season.

Nicklas Backstrom has been cleared to participate in practice without restriction, a Capitals team spokesman told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., on Saturday. Backstrom, the team's top center and best player this season, has not played since taking an elbow to the head Jan. 3 by then-Calgary forward Rene Bourque.

Backstrom has 42 points in 38 games this season, and the Capitals' offense has suffered without the team's No. 1 center. The Capitals are 16-15-6 since Backstrom left the lineup, and they currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, ahead of the Buffalo Sabres because of a tiebreaker.
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Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.

— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals