Nicklas Bäckström on Calle Johansson, Filip Forsberg and the risk of a NHL lockout

A while back Nicklas Bäckström did an interview with Swedish paper Aftonbladet. He shared his thoughts on the risk of a potential NHL lockout and the addition of three new Swedes to the Washington Capitals organization.

Nicklas Bäckström on the hiring of fellow Swede Calle Johansson as a new assistant coach for the Washington Capitals:

”It’s really great that we got Calle. I know him a little bit and he is incredibly knowledgeable about hockey. If he can teach us everything he knows it would be perfect for us, especially for our D- men. Also, he is a great guy and will probably be good for the atmosphere as well.”

Bäckström on the potential lockout:

”I’m not involved in the negotiations, but I follow everything that’s happening via the internet. I actually think that it will work itself out in the end, but you have to have a plan B. If there is a lockout there is only one team for me in Sweden. I will only suit up for Brynäs and for no one else.”

Bäckström on dreams of the Stanley Cup:

“I always dream of the Stanley Cup, but I don’t want to put up one of those goals. We aim to make the playoffs to begin with. At the same time, it’s time for us as a team to take that next step now. It will be my sixth year, although it feels like I just got there last year, and Ovechkin’s eighth. Green has also been there for a long time. The years go by … We are the players that Washington focused their resources on. So we are the ones that have to make things happen.”

Bäckström on Tre Kronor:

”I was only there for three days for the last World Championships, I would have liked to have been there from the beginning instead. It’s not easy to fly in, in the middle of things like that. But we had a great team and I would love to do it again. As long as I’m free from injuries, I will always accept a Tre Kronor invitation. It’s an honour to represent my country.”

Bäckström on Filip Forsberg :

”It’s great that we added more Swedes to the team. We also picked Christian Djoos, Pär’s kid. [Ed.note: Christian Djoos's dad, Pär Djoos, is a long time SEL player and he is currently working as a coach in Sweden.] Unfortunately I haven’t seen either of them play, but I have heard that they are both highly skilled players and very talented. They also seem to be good and humble guys. To have humble guys on the team is important. To be successful as a team you need to have humble players. You need to be humble to achieve success, I think.”

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Nicklas Bäckström and the 59 Meatballs

Nicklas Bäckström made a surprise visit to his former team Brynäs summer hockey school last Thursday to talk to the kids and to hand out some awards. The hockey school lasted for two weeks and ended with a very popular surprise appearance by Nicklas Bäckström.

The final day also included a lot of cake eating (Brynäs, in its one hundredth year of existence this year, won the Swedish championship) and awards handed out for best (hockey?) hair, and of course “the meatball of the week” award which was handed out to the kid who ate the most meatballs during the camp; this year’s winner managed to eat 59 meatballs.

Nicklas started out his career with Valbo HC (Valbo’s ice rink is now named after him) but moved on to play for Brynäs in his teens. The first Brynäs team he was on was their under 16 team.
“I started to play hockey when I was just 2-3 years old. That’s really early but I tagged along with my older brother and dad [Nicklas's dad Anders played for Brynäs between 1978-88]. A while later I started playing at Valbo’s hockey school. I practically lived at the rink in Valbo,” Bäckström tells Brynäs’s official site.

Nicklas answered questions on what he does to keep up his motivation to train two times a day five days a week as he does in the summer,  how he deals with going through rough patches and a difficult injury like concussion, and if he has ever considered quitting hockey.

“No, I never got to the point that I wanted to give up on hockey. One of the things I love most about hockey is to just hang out with the guys in the locker room. However, I did spend a lot of time thinking about why I didn’t heal up properly and if I ever would feel good again.”

“The thing I liked most about hockey summer school as a kid was that it was filled with fun hockey stuff both on and off the ice. We also did other things such as going swimming. It was the combination of things that made it so much fun. I went to summer hockey school for 7 or 8 years as a kid and always had a great time.”

All the pics are courtesy of Brynä, where you also can read more about Bäckström’s visit.



Nicklas Bäckström and Marcus Johansson will both play for Peter Forsberg and Markus Näslund’s charity team the Icebreakers this year. Nicklas Bäckström has played on the team for a couple of years but this year will be the first time for Marcus.

The team consists of current and former Swedish NHL players. They will play two games against Swedish teams this year: Timrå on August 8 and Visby on August 9.
The purpose of the Icebreakers is to raise money for sick children. They have raised 6 million Swedish kronor since the foundation was started in 2002. All of the players that take part in the event always say the same thing: playing in the games is fun but the reason they do it every year is to meet the children. They visit the children’s hospital in all the cities they travel to play in, as well as meeting all the kids that receive the money they raised through the games. It’s the interaction with the kids that makes it all worthwhile to the players.

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I absolutely loathe to write about golf. But it is for a good cause so…

On June 14 Nicklas Bäckström is hosting a charity golf tournament outside his hometown Gävle for the third year in a row.  Last year the Children’s Hospital in Gävle received 100,000 Swedish Kronor from his foundation. Bäckström’s foundation also gave away golf and hockey scholarships.

NHL-players like Henrik Zetterberg, Jacob Markström, Anders Lindbäck, Mikael Samuelsson, Magnus Pääjärvi and Marcus Johansson as well as some former NHL players are taking part in the tournament.

Nicklas Bäckström at Gävle Children's Hospital in 2010

Nicklas Bäckström at Gävle Children’s Hospital in 2010

”So far we have been able to donate 135,000 kronor. It’s great that so many people help out to make this whole thing possible,” says Nicklas’s dad Anders Bäckström to Gefle Dagblad.


Nicklas told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that he thinks the LA Kings will beat the New Jersey Devils in five games.

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Nicklas Bäckström: ”I thought my season was over”

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.

Nicklas Bäckström arriving at Arlanda after a 10 hour flight still wearing the same clothes as when he did his "end of the season" interviews in Washington.

Nicklas Bäckström arriving at Arlanda after a 10 hour flight still wearing the same clothes as when he did his ”end of the season” interviews in Washington.

“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.

“I actually said to myself that I think I’m done for the season and it would just be an added bonus if I were able to play any more games this season. It went a bit slow but it felt really good to be back playing.”

”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.

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Nicklas Bäckström: ”It’s an honor to play for my country”

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.”

Nicklas Bäckström practicing with Tre Kronor.

Nicklas Bäckström practicing with Tre Kronor.

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.

”He makes the the other skilled forwards on that team better. He brings out the best in them. I also thought he played very physical in the series against us. He played really well.”
Nicklas Bäckström to Aftonbladet, ”It’s hard to give yourself too much credit when your team loses, but I would be lying if I said anything other than that I feel pretty good right now.”
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Nicklas Bäckström in Stockholm

Nicklas Bäckström enjoyed a healthy breakfast at Riche, a famous old restaurant in Stockholm, with Dutch artist/producer/DJ Tiësto and Anders Timell, a Swedish radio personality.

Nicklas Bäckström and Tiësto having breakfast at Riche. Photo: @krisahlbom

Nicklas Bäckström and Tiësto having breakfast at Riche. Photo: @krisahlbom

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Nicklas Bäckström returns to Sweden

According to the Swedish newspaper Expressen, Nicklas Bäckström who has been sidelined with a concussion since January 3, is currently on a short visit in Sweden. According to one of Expressen’s sources, Bäckström is expected to meet with a doctor in Sweden before he returns to Washington on Wednesday.

Update, 18.48 PM

Via Katie Carrera Washington Capitals beat writer for the Washington Post.

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