Nicklas Bäckström on what everyday life for an NHL player is really like (part 1)

Expressen’s hockey reporter Magnus Nyström made a stop in Washington during his recent NHL trip. He sat down with Nicklas Bäckström and they recorded a 65 minute podcast together, on what I think was October 30, or thereabouts. The main subject of their conversation is what everyday life for a NHLer is really like. I divided the translation into two parts. My translation of the first part of the podcast is below.


I’m sitting across from Nicklas Bäckström in a conference room in Washington’s practice facility that’s actually not located in Washington?  


No, it’s a bit from downtown Washington. All the players live here in Virginia. They built this place five or maybe six, seven years ago.


The location is a bit special, on the top of a shopping mall and parking garage.


Exactly. That’s what makes it unique and pretty cool that you drive to the top and park your car and then there’s two rinks here. It’s great actually.


The idea is to try to describe in detail what an everyday life is like for an NHL player with practices, traveling and games.  But first how do you feel now about what happened in Sochi with missing the final and everything, after having had some time to reflect on it?


It’s nothing to dwell on really. I know that me, myself, and Björn [Waldebäck, team doctor for Tre Kronor] made a mistake together, and at the same time, there was a lot of turbulence at the time, and you have to try to put it behind you and move on. That’s what it’s all about. Directly after the Olympics the league started up again, and then you just had to forget about it and move on, and now when some time has passed I don’t think a lot about it actually. I made a mistake and I’m taking responsibility for that. Now I’m just looking forward.


Playing with Tre Kronor in the future, like in the World Cup that might happen in 2016, is something you would still be interested in?  


Absolutely. I don’t have any negative feelings about the national team. I still think it’s incredibly fun to put on the Tre Kronor jersey. That’s big and I would be looking forward to that.


I’m fascinated by this, the first time we met after the Olympics, the ability you professional athletes have to put things behind you and move on. I think that we common people can learn from this attitude.

I mean, it’s easy to imagine that supporters, especially for club teams that can ruminate on adversities for years on end and think: What if we won that game? What if we made the playoffs? But you are sitting here now and when we talked previously and are talking about that final as something you have put behind you. You don’t go around being sad about missing the final, you just think about the next game.  


Yeah, but I think it’s important that you as a person, and especially for someone that’s a hockey player…eh, for example: If you had a bad game, for instance. You had a bad game and they show you video the next day, and you get told that you maybe have done something wrong in one of the video clips. That can happen in a everyday normal job too, that you maybe get yelled at by your boss. Instead of dwelling on why that happened, you have to try to learn from it and move on. I think that is a thing you have live with in hockey, you have to take some criticism and then you have to move on and learn from it. Maybe that’s the mentality you have to have in this sport.

It’s just not working, you can’t feel sorry for yourself for doing something wrong. You have to let it go, try to think positive and look forward. I think that’s a really important part of the sport.


How cool would it be to play in the World Cup?

That would be incredibly fun. It’s a classic thing.


It’s the same thing as the Canada Cup and would be played in August of 2016.


Yeah, it’s classic thing that was around when I grew up that just disappeared. That’s what it felt like at least. If they can find a good combination with the World Cup, Worlds and everything else, I think it can be great.

People get excited about the salaries you receive. I’m of the opinion that you deserves every penny you get, at least the best players do. You are the ones that make people buy tickets, buy merchandise and come to the games. You are a good investment for the clubs. It’s a little fascinating when you look at the numbers, do you know what you make per game?  

I have no idea.

You make over half a million per game and that’s pretty good.  

Yeah, it’s amazingly good.

It used to be that you got a check in a mailbox, maybe that has changed?

It used to be so earlier, that you got live checks. Now you still get checks but you can have them wired directly to your bank account if you want to.

It had to have been a bit bizarre in the old days, I mean you don’t want to lose a check like that.

Yes, it was, I almost did that actually.

You did?

Back when I first got over here when I was young and very dizzy, maybe.

 I have learned that you have to be on top of things like that. I put it in my car after practice one day, and then I found it a couple of weeks later under the car seat.


Wow, that made you a bit stressed out, I’d imagine.  


Yeah, it really was. But fortunately there were no harm done.


Do you ever reflect on the fact that you are making a lot of money. In Sweden it’s all very hush, hush when it comes to salaries, whereas over here everything is out in the open for everyone to read.


At the same time, I think it’s good that it’s public knowledge and that everyone knows what players make. And we do make a lot of money, there’s no reason to deny that and we have it really good. At the same time, there’s a lot more work for us than what people think, and how mentally demanding it is to play a long season. While we make a lot of money, it’s what the going market value is for the sport. That’s the lay of the land, that’s how society works. That’s nothing we are in control of, it’s the league that has set up the ground rules.

You have to work hard for the money.

Yes, I think so.  As I said earlier, we make a lot of money, we do, and that not something I’m trying to hide.


You train pretty much every day and have over 200 practices a year, about 240 practices per season. How much do you have time to learn things during practice with the game schedule you have? Describe the difference between practices here and back home, where there are fewer games.

I can walk you through a day, how it looks? We always starts with video at nine, and after that..


And that video session is about the game you played the night before?


Exactly, it’s from the previous game, who did things right and who did things wrong. What we can do better, stuff like that. We also have discussions in the room.

But it’s the whole team that looks at the clips?


So it can happen that the coach says: hello Backstrom, you should have backchecked there, in front of the whole group? 

 Exactly, and that’s something you just have to take and learn from and move on.

But there can be times when you aren’t exactly happy to hear that?

Of course you get more disappointed with yourself, like damn, why didn’t I do that. It’s just part of it.

So first a video session?

Always first video and then we have gym after that for about 30-45 minutes. Everyone has their own program that they go through. Some days we have upper body, some we have lower body: legs and things like that, other days we have like abdominal exercises.

But it’s lifting weights, and not being on a treadmill or sitting on an exercises bike?

No, it’s more weights and sometimes this year, when we have played back to backs, we have started doing yoga, actually, and I think that’s been pretty damn great.


Do you have the concentration you need for that?

Yeah, but, when you come in in the morning, and maybe are a bit tired after two days of games, it’s pretty sweet to relax and really stretch/do some strengthening exercises. It feels really, really good and it’s very relaxing. Just what the body needs sometimes.

And after the gym?

After the gym. we get ready, tape the sticks, yeah. You have about 30 minutes to put on the gear after that so you sit down at your stall and start to get changed.

Do you have any special routines? I guess there’s a difference between practices and games, too.  

Yeah, there’s a difference for me. At practice I don’t care at all, actually, about how the equipment is. I need a fresh taped stick, that’s it. I think I use one stick for the whole year.

Just one stick per year. Wow!

Yes, for practices. But for games it’s different.

How is it for games then?

I take a new one every game.

A new one very game?

I do actually.

So if you make the playoffs it’s 100 sticks per season.

Mmm, that sounds about right.

What do you do with all those sticks then? Some get busted of course.

Yes, some break.The club often takes the sticks and use them for charity and things like that, so they move on, in one way or the other.

But the lone practice stick must become a favorite.

Eh, that’s what’s strange, for games I’m a stickler for details and want it to be taped to perfection, but for practice, the stick I have, I use. Then I’m not such a perfectionist.

Pretty often when a player miss a play on the ice they look down at the stick as if it’s to blame, but it almost never is.

Yes, 99.9% of the time, it’s not the stick’s fault. So, it’s more a thing people get hung up on.

Nice to have someone to blame.


So onto skating sessions.

We have had a lot of different coaches these last few years. The practices have been very different depending on which coach we have at the time. Last year, we could have a 20 minute practice with no intensity whatsoever. Very easy, just feeling things out type of practices. This year, we have a 45 minutes to an hour long practice, with a pretty good intensity throughout, and much, more skating.

What a difference!

Yes. I don’t know how it will be further into the season when we play more games, but so far I like it. It’s a good tempo and we have a lot of play exercises. We try to replicate how it will be during games. If we, for example, play Edmonton tomorrow, we maybe go through how they like to play, and we work on things that will help us when they are out there. The whole practice is very tactical.


Different methods for different coaches, and Barry Trotz choose that way.


Mmm, precisely.

If you were to compare a practice here to how you did things back home in Sweden, what’s the biggest difference?

I would say that back when I played with Brynäs, there was a lot more focus on warm up than 2 on 1 drills.


Can you say that it’s more like things you do in the gym here, a little bit, more warm ups and things to get you going?


Exactly. And it’s more straight to working on breakout drills here. It’s the whole five man unit, the whole line that starts together at once. That’s where I think there are some differences, some more speed here and more skating here, too.


On the other hand, if you are going to practice things that are supposed to be game like, you have to do it with tempo, otherwise it’s pretty pointless, don’t you think.


Absolutely. That’s correct and especially if you consider that we play games every other day, we can’t be on the ice for two hours every day. So it’s important that we cut to the chase, and it’s something you get used to. I mean, throughout the camp we have practiced breakouts and 3 on 2’s all over the ice, so, it’s good, you learn from it.


After practice, you aren’t finished after you hit the showers. Like today, when I got here you had two meetings.


Exactly. First we had a meeting where we were going through Arlington laws with some policemen, so that we know what the rules are like about the cars here, you have to have the right stickers on your cars and on the license plates. So everyone has their things in order in case you get pulled over. Basically information that is good to have.

And then you had a hockey meeting with the coach.


Was the focus on the games that had been played, or for future games?

I would more say that it was more of a review on how we have been playing through the first eight games. What we can improve on and things like that.

And the feeling is that you are somewhere in between. You are not super excited but not angry either? It’s been a bit up and down?

Yes, you can say that. We have four wins and we are 4-2-2. I would say that we are ok with the results so far but not more than that.

Maybe I should say that you will play a few more games before this is published, so if you score four goals in game, and we don’t mention it, the listeners will know why. It’s not that we forgot that it happened.

That I would score four goals? That would probably never happen.

Don’t say that.

But we are ok with the result so far. I think we have something good going here, and I think we will be better and better going forward.

Every day when you are home in Washington there are some hours away from home that you spend preparing yourself at the practice facility, aren’t there?

I would say that I’m at the rink 4-5 hours every day. That includes everything: morning video session, gym and ice. After that you have meetings, stretching, taking care of the body, making sure that you have as much time as you need for the best recovery. Pretty often we have lunch too. We have breakfast in the morning and lunch at the practice rink. I think that it is very good that we put in the hours.

Is the lunch as good as back home at Gavlerinken in Gävle?

Gavlerinken does have really good food. It’s real good but it’s good here too, but a bit different, another type of food but still good.

You play a crazy amount of games. In November, for instance, you play 14 games in 30 days, and it’s not like you just play in the next town over either. Like when Brynäs plays a Stockholm team where it’s just to jump on the bus for a short trip.

It’s pretty hectic, especially when we have a lot of road games, too. It’s something that you might not understand if you haven’t played in the NHL and have had the opportunity to experience this life. We travel a lot, it’s games every other day and we always leave the day before the game.

So when you arrive it’s always the day before the game?

Yes, we usually get there in the afternoon so that we can eat a good dinner and sleep and then it’s practice in the morning, the game and after that we leave for the airport.

It has to have happened that you have woken up in the morning and had no idea where you were?

Yes, it has happened a couple of times, like, which hotel is this? Many times I have been mistaken on room numbers, too. Yeah, right, it was in the last hotel I had that number.

I remember when I did a story on Eric Lindros, once he said that the thing he did most, other than practices and play games, was to sleep. He tried to take a nap every day and sleep as much as possible. It’s all sleep, sleep, sleep. It’s not very glamorous but he said that he had to do it. Is that just him, or is it true for everyone?

Yeah, it’s especially like that on game days for me. Those days I sleep almost two hours every day after practice. If you don’t do that, you get too tired. It’s a plain and simple as that, especially when you play every other day, it has to be that way. When I don’t have a game, I try to hang out with the family. If I would nap on those days, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, so I try to stay awake until 10-10:30 at least.

That can’t be easy to do when you have a young child like you do. You have a girl that’s how old now?

She’s one year old.

Then you don’t always get to sleep as you want to. How is that going?

It’s going pretty good. Our daughter actually sleeps good at night, as well as during the days. It’s just great, it’s nice to be able to go home and think about something completely different than hockey. I need to step away from the game for a few hours and instead spend the time with my daughter and girlfriend. It means a lot to me.

Your daughter doesn’t care how the game ended.

Exactly. That’s what’s so great about it, that you can play with something else for awhile.

Do you ever pregame nap together?

We did that when she was younger but..

Now she won’t lay there for two hours?

No, she can’t really sleep with me anymore. She is sleeping in her own bed now.

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Burra discusses how awesome his new teammates are and wanting to move in with one of them.

Yesterday during Caps media day André Burakovsky chatted with

Bäckis and Burra during Caps media day. (photo credit: SR)

Bäckis and Burra during Caps media day. (photo credit: SR)

“There’s a whole other level here compared to where I came from. It’s the best league in world. The quality of the players and passes are much higher. You really have to be on your toes in every drill, you can’t fall asleep on the job here.”

How do you think the team has welcomed you?

“They have been amazing. I think everyone has made me feel welcome. It’s a great bunch of guys and everyone is talking and joking around with me. It’s been great actually.”

How are you getting along with the other Swedish guys on the team?

“Really good. I have a close relationship with both Marcus [Johansson] and Nicklas. We talk with each other all the time and do things together. They are two great guys that are important for me to have here.”

You told me that you might move in with Nicklas Bäckström eventually?

“Yeah, we have talked about it, that I should move in with him and his family, Liza [Backström's girlfriend] and Haley [Bäckström's daughter]. I’m looking forward to it and think it can be really good for me to live there. Nicklas has been around the block a few times and knows how things work. By being close to him I can learn a lot. It’s going to be fantastic fun to maybe move in with them.”

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Nicklas Bäckström: ”Alex needs to do some of the dirty work”

Back in August, Nicklas Bäckström talked to Swedish journalist Linus Hugosson about the difference between his NHL coaches, the media scrutiny after Sochi, and Alexander Ovechkin’s style of play. Today, on October 1, the interview was  posted on I have translated parts of the interview below. 

“Our game didn’t work at all last year,” Bäckström sighed. “The balance on the team was all wrong. We had an ok power play, that helped us win some games, but five on five wasn’t nearly good enough.”

Did you get run over, physically, by other teams?

 “No, it was more that other teams felt more skilled at playing the game than we did, but it was mostly in the defensive details things were lacking.”



Nicklas Bäckström and Linus Hugosson.

Nicklas Bäckström and Linus Hugosson. (photo credit: @linushugosson)

The defensive play have been a question mark for the Washington Capitals for year. During last season, Bäckström’s partner superstar Alexander Ovechkin was criticized, sometimes harshly, for his lack of commitment to backchecking.

“People know what he is good at. He is a goal scorer”, said Bäckström. ”But to go all the way, I think that every player on the team has to do the same things.”

Bäckström thinks that the criticism his Russian captain received was over the top, but he has also noted that on the most successful NHL teams, all players work equally hard.

“Alex also needs to do some of the hard and grueling dirty work. I think that he will come to realize that.”

[Ed note: The word by word translation of the sentence, “Alex måste också göra lite skitobb,” is “Alex also needs to do some of the shit work.” I translated it to: “Alex also needs to do some of the hard and grueling dirty work.”  Skitjobb can mean dirty work, as in going to tough areas on ice, playing physical and finish every check. But it can also mean being meticulous about the defensive details in the game, like backchecking and doing whatever your team needs you to do to win, even if it’s not really part of your job description.]

About Sochi.

“I have put it behind me and am trying to look forward instead. Of course It was really hard when it happened and for a few weeks after that. The media scrutiny was sick. Journalists came to my home and knocked on my door. I have no problem with answering questions, but when they are invading your home they are crossing a line.”

 ”I’m still incredibly disappointed that I didn’t get to play in the final, but at the same time, I have a responsibility as a player to do things correctly. There were a lot of different variables that played their part in this situation. I have to take my responsibility. Björn has to take his.”

Are you and Björn Waldebäck  (team doctor for Tre Kronor) friends?

“Yes, things are fine.”

In August Bäckström finally received his silver medal in Gävle before a Brynäs preseason game.

After several coaching changes in recent years, Bäckström will now be playing under one of the most respected coaches in the hockey world, Barry Trotz. He has made a name for himself by always having very stout defensive teams during his many years as the head coach for the Nashville Predators.

“Trotz will continue on with the same style that he had in Nashville, which I think will be great. We also have a bit more of an offensive punch than Predators have. For me personally, I don’t think there will be huge difference.”

One of Barry Trotz’s most important messages to his new players has been that the team has to stick to together. It’s the group, as a whole, that should succeed.

Is that what has been missing from the Capitals, to work together as a group?

“I know what you are getting at,” Bäckström chuckles. ”Of course it’s more fun when we win the games and play well, and there’s a lot of whining when we lose. But I would still say that the most important thing we have been missing is a some fighting spirit and some give a damn.”

“We have made some good additions. Now we can spread out the ice time more for our d-men, and Mike [Green] doesn’t have to play 35 minutes per game. I think Mike might find a way to get back to how he looked in his glory days again.”


”The last few years have been like a roller coaster ride. All of them have come in with their own philosophies. It worked ok with Bruce Boudreau, that first went with a hyper offensive style, and then changed things to a hyper defensive style. After that we had Dale Hunter, he was more ”old school”, and I thought that worked really great under him but then we ended up losing a in crushing manner to the Rangers in the playoffs.”


”You can tell by reading a little about what people are saying that the fans have become more restless. They are disappointed, and who can blame them? They question the management, but that only means that it is important for us as an organization to give back and and become the top team that I believe we can be.”


Personal goals for the season?

“No, I don’t have any other goals for me personally, I only have goals for the team, and that is to make the playoffs.”

Swedish thing you miss the most when you are in North America?

“Traditional Swedish food, like korvstroganoff and rice. You can make it over here too, but it’s never the same.”

What do you do on the airplane? 

“Play cards. We play Snarples. Snaples is mostly about luck so we usually take turns winning.”

What music would you play in the arena for warm ups, if you could makes the choice?

“I think I would pick Steve Angello’s new song, Wasted love.”


Toughest player to face?

Zdeno Chara is hard to go up against. The size, reach and strength.”


Which soccer team is in your heart?

”Arsenal!! They look damn fine this year. They will surprise a lot of people.”


The Stanley Cup winner in 2015 is?

“Washington Capitals. If we miss I’m going with Chicago or Los Angeles.”

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Christian Djoos to take part in Washington Capitals’ Rookie Camp

In May of this year, the Washington Capitals signed Christian Djoos, their seventh round pick from the 2012 draft, to a three-year entry-level contract. The undersized D-men is currently playing for Brynäs in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), a league that is set to start its season in little over a week. Brynäs plays their first game on September 11, so they will have to get through at least their first few games without one of their top two D-men and what is expected to be one of their most important PP weapons in Christian Djoos.

Christian Djoos playing with Brynäs. photo credit: Joel Marklund

Christian Djoos playing with Brynäs. photo credit: Joel Marklund


Over the weekend, Djoos told that he is coming over to take part in the Washington Capitals rookie camp.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m leaving on September 8 to take part in the the rookie camp but after that I’m not sure how long I will stay for. But they want to take another look at me and they think that it’s good for my development,” Djoos said.

“I was there earlier this summer [for Washington Capitals development camp] and now they really want to see me again. I suppose that is proof that I performed well the last time I was over, so it’s going to be fun to get this opportunity.”
Brynäs is hoping that Djoos will still be loaned to them this season, and considering how well stocked the Capitals’ organization is on D at the moment, both in Washington and Hershey, it’s not unlikely that they will get their wish granted.



 Update, September 1 14.46 pm  
Djoos is also attending the Caps’ main camp according to Brynäs’ GM Stefan Bengtzén estimates that Djoos will be gone for two weeks. ”We can only hope that he is good, but not too good,” Bengtzén told
Last week I wrote about a another Caps prospect picked in the seventh round, Kevin Elgestål. Elgestål is also attending both the rookie and main camps this year.
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Better late than never, right? Nicklas Bäckström’s reaction after finally receiving his Olympic Medal.

Wednesday night before the start of the preseason game between Brynäs and Djurgården, Nicklas Bäckström finally received his Olympic Silver medal in his home town of Gävle. He received the medal from the chairman of the Swedish Hockey Federation, Christer Englund. The head coach for Tre Kronor, Pär Mårts, was also present on the ice, as was former Brynäs captain and fellow member of the Olympic silver winning team in Sochi, Jakob Silfverberg.

It wasn’t the biggest crowd in the building but they made up for it with cheers when Bäckström received the medal.


The chairman of the Swedish Hockey Federation, Christer Englund finally gives Nicklas Bäckström his Olympic Silver medal. photo credit: TT

The chairman of the Swedish Hockey Federation, Christer Englund finally gives Nicklas Bäckström his Olympic Silver medal. photo credit: TT



photo credit: TT

photo credit: TT


Pär Mårts, head coach of Tre Kronor, Nicklas Bäckström and Christer Englund. photo credit: TT

Pär Mårts, head coach of Tre Kronor, Nicklas Bäckström and Christer Englund. photo credit: TT


photo credit: TT

photo credit: TT


After the game Bäckström talked to Gefle Dagblad’s Magnus Hägerborn.

 “It feels good, it took awhile but better late than never, right?” Bäckström said.

With the medal in your hand, what does it mean for you?

“It feels good, actually. It feels like I was vindicated, and it feels good to finally have it.”

Was it important for you to get the medal?

“Yes, it was especially important before they decided that I would receive a medal. Everything was up in the air at that point, and I didn’t know what would happen. After they told me, it felt good and yeah, it was positive. It’s always…an Olympic medal in hockey isn’t a bad thing.”

Can you appreciate it more today then maybe you would have after the final?

“Yeah, I actually think so. If we had lost the final, and I would have been part of it, I’d probably be really disappointed when I got it. But now, half a year later, it feels like I appreciate it more. It means very much to me.”

Is it special for you to receive it here in Gävle?

“Yes, that’s great as always, since I grew up here and played hockey here both with the junior team and with A-laget (Brynäs SEL team). And it’s the town itself, too. This was really fun.”

What happens now?

“I’m going back on Monday and the camp starts on the 18th. That gives me some time to reset to another time zone and then it’s time to put the pedal to the metal.”

New coach and new general manager.

“Exactly, it’s gonna be fun. It brings some extra motivation and excitement. It feels good, we have had a lot of different coaches these last couple of years but at the same time, I hope we can keep this one and build from the ground up.”

 The allergies, any problems with that?

“Nothing at all. It’s not that time of year.”

TV   Uppskattar medaljen mer nu

Screenshot from watching the game.

Screenshot from watching the game.

Bäckström also talked to Hans Abrahamsson from Aftonbladet.

It’s six month later, how do you look back at everything that happened?

“I’m not really a person that dwells on things too long. Yeah, I did dwell on it for a few weeks but after that I let it go pretty fast. I couldn’t make it undone, it was what it was, so I had to look forward.”

Do you feel  like you could have done anything different?

“The only thing I feel now is that I could have not taken that damn pill.”

Do you feel disgust taking your allergy medicine now?

“No I don’t actually. It’s different over there.” (In North America).

[Bäckström talked to Stisse Åberg from about his allergy medicine: Åberg: “I asked, of course, if he is still taking his medicine and got the honest answer: “When I feel my allergies, I do.”]

How was those first few weeks after the Olympics, there must have been a tremendous pressure on you?

“Yes, it was, but at the same time: That’s how it works in today’s society. I know that I couldn’t have made anything different. I was open and honest about it from the get go. Then people will twist and turn things, that I’m weird for what I’m doing, and people will say things.”

Do you feel like you have been treated unfairly?

“No, I was the one the tested positive so it’s nothing strange about it.”

How has the contact been with Pär Mårts [Tre Kronor’s head coach]?

“No problems at all. I have talked some to him and there’s no weird feelings.”

How about the team doctor, Björn Waldebäck, have you talked to him too?

“Yes, I have talked a little bit with him after what happened. It’s unfortunate what has happened and the truth is out there. Personally I think that Björn is a kind and good guy. There’s absolutely no hard feelings from my side.”

[Ed. note: Some additional context on the Bäckström-Waldebäck relationship, Bäckström has had Waldebäck as the national team doctor on and off since he was a teenager. Waldebäc has been the doctor at hand when Bäckström had problems with his migraines while playing for the national team].

Tre Kronor, including Nicklas Bäckström and Björn Waldebäck,  celebrating their 2006 World Championship gold.

Tre Kronor, including Nicklas Bäckström and Björn Waldebäck, celebrating their 2006 World Championship Gold medal. 

Bäckström talked to Brynäs’s site the day before the ceremony.

Where will you hang the medal?

“I think I will hang it with my gold medal from the 2006  World Championship.”

How has your summer been?

“I had a great summer. It’s been a pretty long summer and time for a lot of preseason training. But it has gone well, we have worked hard and my body feels great. That’s a great feeling to have and important now when we are going back for another tough season.”


Johan Holmqvist and Nicklas Bäckström with their World Championship medals in 2006.

Johan Holmqvist and Nicklas Bäckström with their World Championship medals in 2006.


Update, August 29

Nicklas talked some more to Magnus Hägerborn last night. 

What are you going to do with your silver medal?

“I’m going to sleep with it tonight, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Bäckström has dabbled with CrossFit before but this summer he has gone all in on the CrossFit concept.

“I wanted to try something new and I have been really pleased with it. It’s a tough workout that leaves me with a taste of blood in my mouth. It’s going to be exciting and interesting to see what sort of result this type of training can do for my hockey game during the season.”

Nicklas’ brother, Kristoffer Bäckström, has made room for Nicklas on his team Oppala/Sätra’s skating sessions.

“He is some sort of a playing coach there at the moment, until they find someone new. It’s always better to train with a team, it gives more than to train on your own.”





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Nicklas Bäckström talks about his new role as a UNICEF ambassador and what he expects from Barry Trotz

Nicklas Bäckström talked to about the upcoming season and his new role as an ambassador. My translation is below.

Nicklas Bäckström on missing the playoffs for the first time:

“It wasn’t fun, but at the same time, the new season starts very soon and we have changed some personnel and added some new players, so that feels good.”

On Barry Trotz being known mostly as defensive oriented coach, and how that will work for a Caps team that isn’t known for its defense:

“I’ve talked to him and I think he is very focused on building a team and working together as a group. I think that’s how you win, so having him as a coach can only be great.”

On his expectations for the season (he is leaving Sweden for Washington on Monday, but not before finally receiving his Olympic silver medal on Thursday night.) 

“I’m really excited about going back there again, I think that everything has been working great for me, I’ve been going at it hard and I’m ready to go.”

Earlier this year, Brynäs announced that they would start a partnership with UNICEF, and one part of that cooperation was that they would play without any advertisement on their jerseys this upcoming season. Instead they would do like Barcelona have done in the past, and just have the UNICEF logo on their chest.


Nicklas Bäckström and Jakob Silfverberg wearing their ambassadors outfits.   Photo Credit:

Nicklas Bäckström and Jakob Silfverberg wearing their ambassadors outfits. Photo Credit:

Two days ago, on the 25th, Brynäs announced that Nicklas and another Brynäs alum and current Ducks player, Jakob Silfverberg, are the new ambassadors for UNICEF and Brynäs.


Here’s what Nicklas told the Brynäs site about his new job as an ambassador:

“It’s very flattering and fun to get asked to be an ambassador. That I personally can be part of helping Brynäs IF and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in their work for children’s rights in society is something I look forward to. I think I have a lot to offer in meetings between me and the children. Those are times where you can sit down and really have the time to talk and listen to them.”

Jakob, Nicklas and the no longer shy kids at Lillhagaskolan  Photo Credit: Andreas Norinder

Jakob, Nicklas and the no longer shy kids at Lillhagaskolan Photo Credit: Andreas Norinder

The project is called “En bra start” meaning “A good start”. Brynäs players will visit a school every week and play sports with the kids, help them with their homework, and talk about things like respect and attitudes. Bäckström and Silfverberg started their new ambassador gig right away with a visit to a middle school called Lillhagsskolan.

”It’s so much fun to meet them and ask them questions. It’s very cool that they are here,” said Axel Schelin, one of the students at the school.

Bäckström and Silfverberg seemed to have a good time, too. “It’s incredibly inspiring to come and visit schools like this. The kids are a bit shy at first but they get going after a couple of minutes when we have gotten to know each other a little bit better,” said Bäckström.

Silfverberg added, “It’s incredibly fun. Everyone is not getting the same opportunity, so I feel that it’s really important and fun to get involved with this. And we get so much back from the kids too.”

Photo Credit: Andreas Norinder.

Photo Credit: Andreas Norinder.

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Caps seventh-round pick, Kevin Elgestål to play for the Swedish Junior National Team this weekend

Caps seventh-round forward pick from this year, Kevin Elgestål, will play with the Swedish U20 team in Jönköping, Sweden this weekend. It’s a four-nations tournament that will run Friday through Sunday. The participating teams, apart from Sweden, are Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic.

 This will be the first time that Elgestål plays with the U20 national team, though it’s not the first time he will represent Sweden internationally. Previously he has played both with the Swedish U17 and U18 teams, including playing in the U18 World Junior Championship and at the prestigious Ivan Hlinka tournament with the U18 team.

Kevin Elgestål

Kevin Elgestål


Henrik Leman, who covers Elgestål’s current team Frölunda, wrote about Elgestål in Gothenburg-based a few days ago:

“Kevin Elgestål, 18, is so hot in the eyes of Washington, that they have given him the marching orders to not just report to their rookie camp but to their “real” main camp as well.

 I’m not saying that Elgestål is a NHL player this fall, but it’s my interpretation that they believe in him. That’s how it feels.

Fun. I’m guessing that the he will get the chance to play some games with Frölunda’s SHL squad this year.”

Take from that what you will. Personally, I’m taking it with a pinch of salt.

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