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Nicklas Backstrom is visiting a specialist in Michigan

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

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Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was injured in December when he was hit from behind (shown above) during a game in the KHL while playing for Dynamo Moscow.

He did not play another game in the Russian league, and his agent said at the time Backstrom's status could be week-to-week.

With NHL training camps on the horizon, Backstrom is now visiting a specialist in Michigan, a story that was first reported by Capitals blog Russian Machine Never Breaks. The Capitals confirmed Backstrom's visit to the specialist and told RMNB that he and his agent are being proactive.

They did not say what sort of specialist he would be visiting.

If you remember correctly, one of the many visits Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby made during his concussion recovery was to a specialist in Michigan.

Backstrom missed half of the 2011-12 season due to a concussion that he suffered when he was elbowed by then-Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque. The hit resulted in Bourque receving a five-game suspension from the league while Backstrom missed 40 games due to the injury.

The Capitals' on-ice performance suffered greatly with Backstrom out of the lineup, as his absence put a significant dent in their already thin depth at center.

If he isn't ready for the start of camp that depth would once again be tested.

The Capitals still have returning centers Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson, and Mathieu Perrault on the roster, while the team also added veteran Mike Ribeiro from the Dallas Stars over the summer with a draft day trade.

In 42 games last season Backstrom scored 14 goals to go with 30 assists. The No. 4 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Backstrom has scored 101 goals and recorded 266 assists in his career. Since he entered the league back in 2007 only five players have recorded more assists than Backstrom: Henrik Sedin, Joe Thornton, Martin. St. Louis, Ryan Getzlaf, and Evgeni Malkin.

(Video via Russian Machine Never Breaks)

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