Wild’s Backstrom Briefly Lost Function Of His Hand
Veteran puck stopper Niklas Backstrom endured a difficult campaign with Minnesota last year, but news that he temporarily lost function in his right hand paints the Finn’s erratic form in a new light.
The 37-year old sustained an elbow injury during the preseason, with resulting nerve damage causing further complications for the Minnesota goaltender; as Backstrom explained in an interview with Finland’s MTV 3, which was translated by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
It was a bit scary situation. It happened pretty fast. All of a sudden two fingers are not working. Even in rest, two fingers were motionless. I couldn’t use my right hand to drive a car or to hold a phone. There’s a lot of stuff that’s happened during my career, but this really made me stop and think. You need your hand for the rest of your career. I’m right-handed.
Backstrom went under the knife following the Wild’s Western Conference semi final loss to Chicago, which, ironically, may have saved the Helsinki native’s place on the Wild’s roster.
As Backstrom was not technically fit to play, the Wild were prevented from buying out the final year of his deal this summer, affording him the opportunity to compete with Darcy Kuemper and Devan Dubnyk, fresh off the back of a six-year, $26 million contract extension, at training camp in September.
Backstrom is already back on the ice, working with the Goalie Pro team in a variety of skating drills designed to get him back to his best, without risking further injury to his surgically repaired elbow: