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Backstrom: "2013 Couldn't Have Started Off Any Better"

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Nicklas Backstrom is beaming with optimism as the lockout ends and he leaves Moscow for Washington

Elsa

With the lockout over and players from around the world heading back to their NHL cities, Aftonbladet caught up with Nicklas Backstrom before he left Moscow earlier today:

"I'm standing at the airport in Moscow right now, and am about to board a plane to Washington. 2013 really couldn't have started off any better than this. This is the best thing that could have happened.

"It feels so good to finally go back home. 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."

Backstrom isn't familiar with all the details of the new CBA but he is happy that it will last for 10 years. [Ed. note: the sides could opt out after eight.]

"It's great that we have a new deal so that we don't have to go through all this again after six years."

It's not yet determined when camps open up for the Washington Capitals, but it will happen soon, and the team's first line center hopes that he will be able to take advantage of the fact that he up to game speed thanks to him playing in the KHL during the lockout.

"Things have been going really well for me in Russia, so of course I'm hoping that my good game shape continues."

Interestingly, there is no mention of the injury that has kept Backstrom out of Dynamo's last handful of games. Coupled with the fact that he sounds so upbeat, perhaps we can be cautiously optimistic that he'll be ready to go when the season kicks off next week.