Nicklas Bäckström has accepted an invitation to join Team Sweden (Tre Kronor) for the IIHF World Championship. The tournament is being co-hosted by Finland and Bäckström’s home country Sweden. Bäckström has played at Worlds three times before and in 2006 he was part of the Tre Kronor squad that won the gold medal.
“The thought about Worlds has been at the back of my mind for a long time. It’s an honor to play for my country and when the tourney is being played at home it feels extra special.”
”I’m hoping that I can take a flight that leaves Washington on Monday and arrives in Stockholm on Tuesday morning. That would mean that I could play against Latvia on Tuesday night,” Nicklas Bäckström told Swedish paper Expressen.
”I’m healthy and feel like I’m in good shape. If you think about it, I only played half a season due to the injury I had this year.”
Last year Bäckström turned down an invitation to play for Tre Kronor in the World Championship due to a recurring thumb injury. Because of that, he received massive criticism in the Swedish press during the entire summer of 2011 and the criticism has never completely stopped since then. I have written about that criticism and Nicklas’s comments about it before in this post from November last year.
”I have always said that if I’m healthy, I will never turn down a invitation to play for my country. The last two times I’ve been asked to play for Tre Kronor, I have been too injured and haven’t been allowed to play. I simply couldn’t play then, but this year my body feels healthy,” Bäckström told another Swedish paper Aftonbladet.
New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist told Swedish Radio that Nicklas Bäckström was one of the Washington Capitals key players.