ST. PAUL, Minn. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom was practicing for the Minnesota Wild in the playoffs, trying to return from an injury and aid the team he helped push to the playoffs for the first time in five years.
After Thursday's season-ending loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, what Backstrom was trying to fight back from was discovered.
Backstrom, who tied for the league-lead with 24 wins in the regular season, missed the entire playoffs after appearing to strain something in pregame warmups for Game 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Backstrom has been dealing with a sports hernia and is scheduled to have surgery to repair his core on Wednesday.
"It's tough when you find out about it, but you try to find a different place to get back there as soon as possible," Backstrom said. "And I think mentally it's good for you to work on your rehab so you don't think too much about missing the game and you can't be with the guys out on the ice. For me it was more to focus on the rehab and tr...