Just two days after the Washington Capitals had been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, Nicklas Bäckström returned to Sweden to play in the World Championships. When he arrived at the airport in Stockholm, there was media waiting for him. Alexander Ovechkin jokingly told the media the next day that he and Alexander Semin arrived later then Bäckström in Stockholm because Bäckström and his girlfriend had charted a private plane, meanwhile Ovechkin and Semin had to travel in coach on a commercial plane. In reality they just traveled on different airlines.
Bäckström mostly talked about the WC tournament and his expectations of winning the gold medal for Sweden. Sweden had not won gold at the World Championships for 6 years. He also talked talked briefly about the concussion he suffered on January 3 after getting elbowed in the head by Rene Bourque.
Thanks to that vicious elbow, Nicklas Bäckström missed 40 games in the regular season. During that period, he had talked with the press about how frustrating it had been to deal with the concussion. He had always sounded optimistic about the possibility that he would be able to return to play, but upon arriving in Sweden he admitted that wasn’t the way he felt privately.
“It wasn’t fun, but it feels better now,” Bäckström said to Swedish newspaper Expressen. He followed up by admitting that he thought the whole season was in jeopardy.
”It’s been hard and very frustrating. I think it’s the worst kind of injury you can have because you are not allowed to do anything. But I feel better now and it feels great to be back. I’m just so happy that I can stand here today and talk about playing hockey again,” Nicklas Bäckström told Swedish Radio.