WASHINGTON — Nicklaus Backstrom celebrated a major milestone tonight. The Capitals humble center played in his 1000th career game.
He's been the guy feeding Alex Ovechkin the puck for 14 seasons, and together they brought a Stanley Cup to the District in 2018. Winning it all ranks at the top of Backstrom's greatest career moments, but he tells WUSA9 reaching 1000 games, is a close second.
"It ranks pretty high up there. This is a nice milestone. When I see not a lot of people have reached this milestone. I'm very fortunate to be able to reach it tonight and to be able to stay healthy for this long. I'm very honored," Backstrom said.
It's rare for a professional athlete in any sport to remain with the same team throughout his entire career. But for 14 seasons, Backstrom has led this Capitals squad.
Backstrom was drafted by Washington in 2006 and he wants to be a Capital for life. He negotiated his most recent contract for him to play through the 2024-2025 season- a cool five-year deal, worth $40 million dollars. He loves D.C., and D.C. loves him.
"Absolutely. I can't thank the Caps organization enough for having me all of these years. To be able to play 1000 games with the same team, it's very special. D.C. is home to me, so it's so special to celebrate this milestone here," Backstrom said.
Backstrom is Washington's all-time leader in assists and is second all-time in points behind Capitals Captain, Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin and Backstrom work together seamlessly on the ice, and off it, they are great friends.
" He's meant a lot. He's been here since I got here. He's been taking care of me from the start. I appreciate everything he has done for me over the years here in Washington. He's a great friend and I'm happy he's right by me tonight," Backstrom said.
Before taking the ice, and accepting a silver stick commemorating this major milestone, Backstrom told me he woke up this morning with butterflies as if today was his first NHL game, not his one-thousandth.
"It was a special morning for sure. It kind of feels like you're playing your first NHL game, that's the butterflies you have in your stomach, but I'm really excited and I know it'll be a special night," Backstrom said.