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 sverigesradio.se.

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 viasatsport.se 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 expressen.se 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 gd.se. 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 gd.se.
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    arbetarbladet.se

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 gd.se 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 gd.se 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: Brynas.se

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

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 GT.se 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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Why is an elite playmaker making a visit to play therapy?

Every summer since 2010, Nicklas Bäckström and his organization Gefle Sport and Future Foundation have been organizing a charity golf tournament at Gävle Golfklubb, and this year was no exception. As of July last year, the tournament had raised 500,000 Swedish kronor for the pediatric clinic at Gävle hospital alone according to tv4.se. But that’s not the only charity they raise money for. Last year they also supported a nonprofit that helps children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But the pediatric clinic appears to be the main charity as far as I can tell.

After the first tournament in 2010 Bäckström said:

“It feels good to be able to give back. It’s something we wanted to do for a long time. Doing it in the form of a golf tournament was just perfect. I think everybody had a good time and we lucked out with the weather. I couldn’t wish for a better outcome.

Thanks to all the interest this tournament has gathered, we are able to help a lot of kids which feels great because it’s a good cause. Me and the others that are taking part in this have been very fortunate in life and the fact that we can help children that haven’t had it as easy as we have and give them some hope for the future feels incredible.”

 

 

 

Nicklas Bäckström visiting children at Gävle hospital in 2010.  photo credit: Gun Wigh

Nicklas Bäckström visiting children at Gävle hospital in 2010. photo credit: Gun Wigh

 

 

 

Nicklas Bäckström visiting children at Gävle hospital in 2010.

Nicklas Bäckström visiting children at Gävle hospital in 2010.

 

At the 2013 tournament Bäckström said:

“Some children don’t have the same opportunities that I had as a kid because they are sick, or have other problems growing up. It feels good to give back and know that the money will go to the right people.”

This upcoming Sunday, Bäckström will make another visit to Gävle hospital and their play therapy program for kids. The play therapy program is where sick children get help to prepare for the treatments they need, by doing what kids do best, play.

The kids are given honest information on what will happen to them and access to drawing material and toys such as dolls. Then they can draw what is going to happen in their treatments, and use a doll so that they can do the things to the dolls that the medical personnel later will do to them, such as give a doll a shot. They also use play therapy after and in between treatments so the kids can “play through” their experiences.

The foundation’s money is being used for things that can help take the children’s minds off of what they are going through, if only for a little while. An example of that is when a child come in for treatment he/she will receive a gift and a diploma that says:

Partial diploma (Photo cropped to maintain privacy of recipient).

Partial diploma (Photo cropped to maintain privacy of recipient).

You are receiving this diploma because you are a fighter that possesses tons of courage and bravery.

Signed, Gefle Sport and Future Foundation and Nicklas Bäckström

(The gift in this case was an iPad Air and a gift certificate for 500 kronor to use in iTunes.)

Update, August 25  


During Nicklas Bäckström’s visit to play therapy yesterday, Gävle based newspaper Arbetarbladet.se was present, all pictures and qoutes below are from their reporter/photographer Conny Svensson.  

 The kids and Nicklas talked about hockey school and computer games over a classic swedish fika (drinking lemonade and eating cinnamon buns). “I feel strongly about these kids and the play therapy isn’t receiving much money as it is.”

”Him visiting means a lot to the kids, they look up to him,” said play therapist Anna Sving Sjöblom.

Nicklas and Brynäs’ mascot Tiger visits 16-year old, Amani Mend. “My brother Ibrahim said that he would come in via the emergency room to meet you”, said Amani.

Nicklas and Brynäs’ mascot Tiger visits 16-year old, Amani Mend. “My brother Ibrahim said that he would come in via the emergency room to meet you”, said Amani.

 

“It feels great to know that someone outside of my family cares about me,” said 14-year old Rohlita Larsson.

“It feels great to know that someone outside of my family cares about me,” said 14-year old Rohlita Larsson.

 

24 auguati 2014

 

24 auguati 2014.jpg 1

 

24 auguati 2014.jpg 2

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