Wild's Backstrom says elbow injury includes nerve damage


New details are emerging about the injury suffered by Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom last season.

According to an interview the 37-year-old goaltender gave to a television station in his native Finland, the elbow injury that prevented the Wild from buying out his contract includes nerve damage.

Backstrom didn't play in a game for the Wild after Jan. 13. He did practice and alternated as the backup goaltender with Darcy Kuemper, but he did not dress for Minnesota's playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Star Tribune's Michael Russo had the interview with MTV 3's Timo Kunnari translated. In the interview, Backstrom said he was unable to move two fingers on his right hand during that series.

"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."

The Wild were unable to buyout Backstrom's contract during the first buyout window because he wasn't cleared to play. There would be a second buyout window later this month, but Backstrom's agent Jay Grossman has said he won't be cleared until at least training camp.

But if he misses a significant amount of time at the start of the season, Gone Puck Wild notes that Minnesota could be in position to get some cap relief by placing him on the Long Term Injured Reserve. That would allow the Wild to exceed the NHL's $71.4 million cap, by just over $3.4 million.

The blog notes that could give the Wild some room to add another forward such as Chris Stewart, Jiri Tlusty, Eric Fehr or a defenseman like Johnny Oduya or Christian Ehrhoff.

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