Caps' Backstrom at a loss to explain struggles
Posted on: May 5, 2011 1:56 am
Edited on: May 5, 2011 3:10 am
Nicklas Backstrom couldn’t be counted on for much this postseason, although the Washington Capitals center always provides an honest assessment.
“I think it feels like I’ve been working hard every game, but around the net it just wasn’t there,” he told reporters after the Tampa Bay Lightning complete a sweep of the Caps Wednesday night.. “I don’t know what happened, but it was so (expletive) frustrating.”
The weight of the first year of a 10-year $67-million contract? Trying to be too precise? An undisclosed injury?
Whatever the cause, Backstrom finished with two points (both assists) in the playoffs. His regular season was hardly spectacular as he followed up a 101-point 2009-10 with only 65 points this season. The drop was likely due to a shift in team’s strategy that stressed defensive responsibility, a bad power play and a hand injury that hobbled him the closing month of the regular season.
“Nicky Backstrom didn’t score, but no one’s going to stand up here and tell me he didn’t try,” coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Backstrom, the team’s second-leading scorer behind Alex Ovechkin in the playoffs the last two years, never appeared comfortable out there. Shots he would have buried a season ago would roll off his stick. Passes he used to hit missed their mark.
“Obviously, you don’t want to see that happen,” Backstrom said (via Ryan O’Halloran of CSNwashington.com). “I take full responsibility for not being that good. I wasn’t as good as I should be.”
Alexander Semin can share some of the blame as well. He all but disappeared after he scored in overtime in Game 1 of the first-round series against the New York Rangers, finishing with six points.
-- A.J. Perez
Photo: US PRESSWIRE