No concussion for Nicklas Backstrom

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

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There was some concern in Washington earlier this week when it was revealed that center Nicklas Backstrom was visiting a specialist in Michigan after he suffered a neck injury while playing in the KHL.

It was especially concerning given the amount of time that he missed last season due to a concussion.

Backstrom and his agent said the visit was simply precautionary. And that's all it turned out to be.

The good news for the Capitals: Their star center told reporters in Washington on Friday that he did not suffer a concussion when he was hit from behind in early December (shown above) and that he will be ready for the start of the NHL regular season on Jan. 19.

"I'm 100 percent," Backstrom told reporters, via the Washington Post. "I know it's a lot of speculations about what's going on and stuff, but this is something I wanted to check out. So I went to Michigan, got it checked out. No concussion, so we can all be calm."

Backstrom missed 40 games during the 2011-12 season -- and the team struggled mightily without him -- after he suffered a concussion against the Calgary Flames when he was elbowed in the head by Rene Bourque.

Bourque was suspended five games for the hit.

Without Backstrom last season the Capitals' lack of experienced depth down the middle caught up to them. This offseason, the team attempted to address that by adding Mike Ribeiro from the Dallas Stars to slide into the No. 2 center role behind Backstrom.

In 42 games last season, Backstrom scored 14 goals and had 30 assists.

(Video via Russian Machine Never Breaks)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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