Any questions over how long it might take for Nicklas Backstrom to return from Russia to join the Capitals for the start of training camp were answered Sunday when Backstrom caught the first flight out of Moscow to return to D.C.
According to a report in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, translated here by Japers' Rink, Backstrom was already at the Moscow airport awaiting a flight to Washington.
“2013 really couldn't have started off any better than this,” Backstrom told Aftonbladet. “This is the best thing that could have happened.”
The biggest concern for the Capitals is the health of the 25-year-old Swede. On Dec. 26 Backstrom left a game for Dynamo Moscow of the KHL after he was checked head-first into the boards. Backstrom sat out the next two games with what the club called a neck injury and there were reports he could miss two weeks or more.
In his interview on Sunday Backstrom made no mention of his injury.
"Things have been going really well for me in Russia,” he said, “so of course I'm hoping that my good game shape continues.”
As of Sunday afternoon there was no word yet on when Backstrom’s KHL teammate, Alex Ovechkin, would be leaving Moscow. Backstrom said he is looking forward to his return.
"It feels so good to finally go back home,” he said. “That's what Washington feels like for me now, like it's my home. But above everything else, I'm just really excited about playing in the NHL again."