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The Washington Capitals were quite the sight of sore eyes on Saturday morning as they prepared to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Legendary center Nicklas Backstrom In his usual white jersey, took the ice for the team’s morning skate.

Up to this point, all of his on-ice work has been done in a navy blue, non-contact sweater.

The 35-year-old center has yet to play in a game this season after undergoing a complex hip resurfacing procedure over the summer. He has been ramping up his rehab since mid-November, when he first practiced with the rest of his teammates.

The news comes just one day after Caps head coach Peter Laviolette commented on Backstrom’s current injury status. First, Laviolette started a little more uncertainly as he also brought injured forward Tom Wilson into the equation.

“They’re growing right now and eventually, like I said, the colors of these jerseys will change and there will be a process that goes to the next step where they’re now involved in contact and more tackling and the physicality of it. Laviolette began. “Certainly to see them out here competing as hard as they are is a really good thing.

“The trainers make sure they go through the right steps and don’t do too much,” he continued. “They’re escalating now. One day can be followed by another hard day. It’s not like they have to go back or they have to slow down. Some days they slow it down, but that’s part of the plan. So it wasn’t a setback. It’s been a good, steady progression with these guys.”

The veteran bench boss then limited his thoughts solely to Backstrom.

“Just a smile on his face,” Laviolette answered when asked how he assessed the Swede’s return. “He doesn’t seem to be in pain. He seems to move freely. He is working hard to get back in shape. He looks good to me there. His skating looks good, his hands always look good, his hockey sense is always great. Skating sounds good to me. It would probably be better for him to ask the question and see how he feels about things.”

Recently, Backstrom and Wilson traveled with the team on the Caps’ quick two-game road trip to Winnipeg and Chicago. There, Backstrom was one of the first to take part in the postgame locker room celebrations after his good friend Alex Ovechkin scored his 800th career NHL goal.

It should be noted that Backstrom was not affected by this ultimate combinations of practical lines going to play the Maple Leafs, but trading a non-contact jersey for a regular jersey is still a huge step forward.

Header photo. @That_WriterGirl/Twitter


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