With NHL training camps expected to open on Sunday, the Washington Capitals might be without the services of forward Nicklas Backstrom.
Having suffered a neck injury on Dec. 26 while playing with Dynamo Moscow of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, the status of the 25-year-old is unknown as of this time.
While the NHL and NHL Players Association have agreed to the terms of a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, the lockout is not officially over until both sides ratify the deal. Even though players are allowed to use team facilities again, the club's are not allowed to have any contact with the players until after the process is complete.
Capitals general manager George McPhee stated that he couldn't speak about the situation, via the Washington Post:
"There are some things we can talk about, some things we can't, and we can't talk about the fitness or health of any players until training camp. I'd be happy then."
If Backstrom is unable to play by the start of the regular season, the Capitals will be able to suspend him without pay until he is fit to resume regular activity.