Washington Capitals veteran Niklas Backstrom, 34, undergoes surgery on his left thigh

The team announced on social media Saturday that Niklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals Center, underwent resurfacing of his left hip on Friday.

Capitals said the surgery was performed in Belgium and the veteran striker will begin his rehabilitation and recovery process immediately.

After the Capitals lost to the Florida Panthers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last month, Backstrom’s health was a major talking point in the team’s media availability at the end of the season. At the time, surgery was not a definitive strategy.

“The best thing I want to do is play hockey, and that’s my life,” Backstrom said on May 15. “Obviously I want to go back. I want to go back to normal, without worrying about this. We’ll see what happens.”

Backstrom missed the first two months of the season to rehab his left hip, which he underwent surgery in 2015 and which he admitted will never be healthy. After the loss to Florida, general manager Brian McClellan said it was not possible for the 34-year-old, who has scored six goals and 31 points this season, to continue playing without getting injured again.

“I think he will explore all options here,” McClellan said in May. “He wants you to be better. He wants to be more comfortable physically when he’s playing, so he’s going to explore it.”

Along with Alex Ovechkin, Backstrom has been a key offensive component in Capitals’ ongoing string of success. He has 264 goals and 1,011 points, all with Washington, and helped lead the team to the only Stanley Cup championship in 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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