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Status of Olympic medal in limbo, Backstrom gets back to work for Washington

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When Sweden was shut out by Canada in Sunday’s gold medal game, forward Nicklas Backstrom had to watch the contest from a television set.

Backstrom had been centering Sweden’s top line, scoring four points in five games; but when gold was on the line, he found himself deemed ineligible to play.

Suspended a mere two hours before the opening faceoff due to an allergy medication he had taken for years; Backstrom said Tuesday that he expects to have to wait another two weeks before finding out whether he will be awarded a silver medal like his Swedish brethren.

"I've had allergies for seven years, since I got here," said Backstrom. "Everyone that lives in the Washington area knows how bad it is here. I've been taking Zyrtec-D for the last seven years and I haven't been doing anything differently. I've been playing internationally, in the world championships [and] Olympics before, and so I haven't done anything differently."

The medication is approved for use by the NHL, but the International Olympic Committee governs the sport under different rules. The medicine was cleared by the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation prior to the games, as team doctors had told Backstrom that he could take one pill a day without exceeding the IOC-allowed limit for an ingredient it contained that was on the banned substance list.

"Who do I blame?" asked Backstrom rhetorically. "Well… I followed the doctor's recommendation."

His status as Olympic medalist still in flux; Backstrom must now turn his attention to his responsibilities with the Washington Capitals, who play the Florida Panthers Thursday.

"Obviously, it's not fun to deal with," he said. "I don't wish no one to have to go through this, if I'm going to be honest with you. It's not fun. But I've got to look forward to play next game on Thursday. I've got to focus on Washington right now."