Fast forward a few months to Backstrom's slow start (he's still looking for that first goal and even strength point) and Lisa Hillary's ice-level report during a recent game that casually mentioned that Backstrom had put on twenty pounds in the off-season, and one could easily
Now, I haven't seen Hillary's report corroborated elsewhere, but here's what I do know - Backstrom was listed at 183 pounds in last year's media guide and 210 pounds this year (though he's still at 183 on the team's website):
It should be noted that Nick has apparently grown an inch over the year, and that he's still just 20 years old and filling out thanks to a weight training regimen that is probably unlike what you'd find over in Europe... but 27 pounds in one year?
Perhaps it's not as obscene as it sounds. After all, from Backstrom's draft class, Simeon Varlamov and Mathieu Perreault had weight gains of 18 and 24 pounds, respectively, over the same span, and Alex Semin gained 19 pounds from 2005-06 to 2006-07 (per the media guides). Still, 27 pounds...
You can draw your own conclusions as to whether or not there's any causation here. And this isn't to say that Backstrom is "fat" or out of shape - it may very well be the case that a bigger Backstrom may be a better hockey player in the long run and that his coordination needs time to catch up to his changed (changing?) physique. But the bottom line is that if Backstrom looks a little slower or less nimble than he did last season, there may be a reason for that.
Update: As Empty points out, 183 pounds was also Backstrom's draft weight, a number that apparently wasn't updated until this year. So it's 27 pounds over two years, not one.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Some love for Alex Semin from up north.... Vogs and Brett apparently mentioned this on Capitals Report yesterday (and if this is Mr. Hanlon's Club, what does Mr. Cassidy's look like?)... Daren Machesney: pretty in pink (via Stack the Pads).... Forbes has some "Best Hockey Fighters For The Buck" silliness posted.... Finally, why don't you guys show this kind of dedication?