Nicklas Bäckström: ”I don’t know if I will be able to play right away when the season starts” (the full interview)

Earlier today I posted a snippet from an interview that Nicklas Bäckström did with his hometown paper Gefle Dagblad. I’ve now done a more comprehensive translation of the interview where he talked about his rehab training, where he is at in the recovery process, and what he thinks about the Caps’ new players.

Gefle Dagblad posted both a video and a written piece of the conversation and I chose to keep them separate.

This is from the video:
It feels good. I have had good few months back home in Gävle but when August rolls around you feel that it’s time for hockey again, so it will be nice to go back to Washington again.

How do you feel after your surgery?

I feel good.

So there haven’t been any complications?

No, I don’t think so. Everything has felt good and I hope that it stays that way.

You were just on the ice. For how long have you been training on ice?

I think I’ve been on ice five time now, not too much. I didn’t want to go on ice before I was ready for it. I waited until it felt ok to skate again. Because of the injury I had to postpone my on ice training compared to when I have done it in years past.

But there is still time to go at it before the season starts. [Ed. Note: As a reference point, fwiw, on August 3 Caps’ General Manager Brian McLellan said, according to nhl.com: ”I heard he started skating just recently, so that’s a good sign” so that’s five times on ice in + 23 days]

I have talked some with the doctor that did the procedure, he’s the person that I’ve been in contact and talked with the most. I think it’s really important since I don’t really know much about these things, so it’s good to talk to someone that actually does.

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro, gd.se

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro, gd.se

The surgery took place in Washington?

Yes.

What does your personal trainer Andreas Öhgren mean to you?
He has been really great. I got in contact with him after a tip from Sebastian Lauritzen that also had surgery done on his hip. They say that Andreas Öhgren is best in Sweden in his field, and I can only agree with that, I think.

He is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to how the body works, and he uses new techniques in his training. Well, not new to him but for a lot of other people. He’s been traveling up to me quite a few times to work with me. It feels so very good to train with him, he does good things, especially for me, who has been injured. [Ed.Note: Bäckström lives in Gävle during the summer while Öhgren lives in Stockhom, where he also trains a group of NHL players including Gabriel Landeskog, Niklas Kronwall and Johnny Oduya]

Elias Lindholm, Nicklas Bäckström, Emil Molin, Calle Järnkrok and Sebastian Lauritzen. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro, gd.se

Elias Lindholm, Nicklas Bäckström, Emil Molin, Calle Järnkrok and Sebastian Lauritzen. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro, gd.se

Photo Credit: Erik Engelro, gd.se

Photo Credit: Erik Engelro, gd.se

At Gunder Hägg Stadium Photo Credit: Erik Engelro, gd.se

At Gunder Hägg Stadium Photo Credit: Erik Engelro, gd.se

At Gunder Hägg Stadium Photo Credit: Erik Engelro, gd.se

At Gunder Hägg Stadium Photo Credit: Erik Engelro, gd.se

Nicklas Bäckström and Andreas Öhgren at Korpen in Gävle. Photo Credit: Andreas Ahgren's IG

Nicklas Bäckström and Andreas Öhgren at Korpen in Gävle. Photo Credit: Andreas Öhgren’s IG

There are some new things going on in the organization, and I think we needed that. I would say that this past season was our best so far. We played more as a team and that’s what we have to do. But at the same time, the margins are thin in hockey.

We had the lead with three games to one, and have a 1-0 lead when it’s one minute left of the game, they tie it, win it in OT and then they win two straight games. The margins are thin, but at the same time you have to learn from it. I know it’s boring as hell to keep saying the same thing year after year but you have to try to learn from it and move on.

Of course it’s not fun that [Mike] Green is leaving but it’s part of the business over there, that’s just the way it is. Players move from team to team, especially since it’s hard to fit all players under the cap. But he’s coming to another team, a Swedish team, Detroit. I wish him all the best and I’m sure we’ll be talking some during the season.

Is Justin Williams the Washington Capitals best new player?
I would say that he and [T.J.] Oshie are equally good. I think a player like Justin Williams, who has won three Stanley Cups, is going to be so great for us. To get all that additional experience in the locker room, since we actually do have a pretty young team. It’s always good to have players that know what it takes in the locker room.

Do you still view yourself as young?
Yeah, I do.

How has having a daughter affected you as person and as a hockey player?
Of course it has affected me a bit. It’s new type of life you live after you have kids. It’s so great to get home from practice and be with her instead of thinking about hockey 24/7.

Have any of your Washington teammates, Ovechkin maybe, ever been here for a visit?
No, he hasn’t. He is plenty busy back home in Moscow.

This part is from the written article:

Bäckström doesn’t want to talk about how serious the procedure was.

“No but it was the right time to do it now, otherwise I would have been stuck with it for a couple of more years.”

He has been rehab training with Andreas Öhgren for two months.

“We have been focusing on getting the mobility back in the hip. At first I couldn’t run or do anything like that. That’s why I waited until just recently to go on ice. He has many new ideas for rotation exercises and is focused on that the training should be similar to the movements we use when we play hockey.”

Are you going to be ready for the start of the season in October?

“I really don’t know. It’s such an hard question to answer. That’s something we will look at going forward, and we’ll evaluate the situation with help from the trainer and the fitness trainer.”

[Ed.Note: Trainer and coach are the same word in Swedish, so I can’t know for sure who he is referring to]

Bäckström also talked briefly about his allergies.

“I feel good right now but it’s tough in the springtime during February and March. I have been talking about doing something about it.”

Video of Bäckström skating and shooting. 

Posts about Nicklas Bäckström on the blog 

Nicklas Bäckström: ”All I Think About is Winning”

Nicklas Bäckström: “Of course I’m hoping that I will be ready for the start of the season”

Nicklas Bäckström is rehab training back home in Sweden

Nicklas Bäckström talks for the first time about his hip injury:  “I’ve been in pain since November”

Report: Nicklas Bäckström to have hip surgery this summer?

Publicerat i news, translations | Märkt , | 1 kommentar

Nicklas Bäckström: ”All I Think About is Winning”

Nicklas Bäckström did an interview with Swedish radio station Sverigesradio. The interview was published on July 18th. I posted the first part of the interview a month ago, and at long last, here’s part two.

You are an assistant team captain now. How has your role changed since you first arrived in Washington?

I was really young when I first came over. I tried to learn from the older more experienced players how to play the right way. That I’m an assistant captain is something that just happened, it’s not something that I sought out.

I’m not really that person that stands up and yells at people in the locker room but I’m not shy about it if something needs to be said. I’m trying to lead by example on the ice. I think it’s important that everyone that is on the team is part of the team. That everyone can say what’s on their minds. It’s a big group after all so it’s only natural that people view things differently on occasion.

Who on your team do you like to hang out with the most?

I’ve been very good friends with Mike Green, but he is moving now. He’s been my best friend on the team ever since I first arrived.

Photo Credit: the fourth period

Photo Credit: the fourth period

We have some Swedes too, Marcus [Johansson] is there and he has been there for awhile now, so I’m very good friends with him as well. Those are the two guys I usually hang with. The things is, though, that when we go on longer road trips you usually hang with all the boys on the team. We have good guys on the team and when everyone hangs out with each other it’s good for the team spirit.

How is a player like Alexander Ovechkin when he’s not on the ice?

He’s a funny guy, very relaxed and willing to make fun of himself. He’s just a normal guy.

If Washington has a chance of winning the Stanley Cup.

That’s of course the biggest goal I have in life right now. I think we played better this past year. It was a step in the right direction and we had a good coach coming in with a good system. We had a lead 3-1 lead against the Rangers, so we should probably have beaten them. It was a really tight series.

We have made some changes during the summer and hopefully that can be a good thing. They brought in some more experienced players that have been around the block a few times. It feels good actually, fun. I’m hoping that we can keep some players that have expiring contracts, too. With them on the team we can be even better. [Ed. Note:The interview took place before the re-signing of Marcus Johansson].

How long does it take to get over a loss like the one against the Rangers?

It was pretty unreal, actually. You agonize over it for a long period of time. It’s constantly in the back of your head for weeks after. But at the same time, you have to try to learn something from it, and move on, both as a group and as an individual.

You just feel so empty afterwards, and you don’t know what to say. You just keep thinking how could it happen? But at the same time, you have to try to get over it and look forward to the next season. It’s an old cliche but there will be a next year. Learn what you can learn and be better next year.

You know that you have 82 games ahead of you and the playoffs on top of that. Are you going: Yippie! Now it’s hockey around the clock again! Or is it more 82 games again….

It feels good and it’s fun. I always have the feeling before every season that this will be great fun. If you don’t have that then maybe you have some problems. The season usually just flies by. You think to yourself, 82 games, damn that’s a lot, but it goes by so fast, and before you know it, it’s playoff time again.

Who is the best player you have played with?
The best player I have played with…I play with Ovechkin and he’s one hell of a goal scorer.

But I like Swedish players that I have played on the National team with: Lidas [Nicklas Lidström], Foppa [Peter Forsberg], Zäta [Henrik Zetterberg], Kronwall [Niklas]. Kronwall is a guy that grew a lot in my eyes during the Olympics. I was really impressed by him both as a leader and as a player.

How do you view Tre Kronor in light of what happened in Sochi? Is it still a bit grrrr inside when you think about it?

I don’t think about it at all now. The only thing is that I’m disappointed that I missed the final, that was really sad but I don’t think much about it other than that, if I’m being honest. What’s done is done and there’s nothing I can do about that now. You have to forget it and move on.

Did you feel at any point after the Olympics that you never wanted to play with Tre Kronor again?

No, I never felt that way. It’s always fun to play for your country.

Next year World Cup is happening again. Is that something you are excited about?

I have heard that it’s a fun tournament and I would love to play if I got chosen for the team. In a tournament like that you will have all the best players in the world, almost like it is at the Olympics. It would be fun to measure yourself against the best players in the world again.

Apart from winning the Stanley Cup, is there something else you want to win in your career that you haven’t won yet?

Of course you want to win everything that is out there for you to win. That’s really all I think about. You want to win as many titles as possible: Stanley Cup, World Championship, the Olympics. The Swedish Elite League was a dream I had before but…

That dream is not there anymore?

You never know. It depends on how long you play and if you can avoid injuries. And if someone if even will want me when my contract with Washington expires.

Your contract lasts until 2020 so you have some years left.

Yes, that’s how it is.

Is it nice to have such a long contract and to know what you will be doing years in advance?

For me personally it is. It feels safe to know that I hopefully, if I don’t get traded, will remain in the same place. I have my home there, my friends. It feels like home and if you like where you are at, you play good, too, so it’s really important.

Since we already touched on it, it used to be called the Swedish Elite League, it’s the Swedish Hockey League now. Would you consider playing there in the future?

Brynäs 2006.

Brynäs 2006.

Absolutely. You never know what’s going to happen in the future. I’m a Gävle guy and a Brynäs fan from birth so of course it would be great to put on the Brynäs jersey again. You never know, we will just have to wait and see what happens and where the road may lead me.

*********

In the middle of June Gefle Dagblad had the headline “No golf summer for Bäckström” for an article that featured an interview with Nicklas Bäckström where he talked about his rehab training, so it was nice to see video of Bäckström taking on his first round of golf for the summer on August 12.

In the middle of June Gefle Dagblad had the headline “No golf summer for Bäckström” for an article that featured an interview with Nicklas Bäckström where he talked about his rehab training, so it was nice to see video of Bäckström taking on his first round of golf for the summer on August 12. Photo Credit : Umgk.se

Unfortunately his hip surgery prevented him from taking part in Brynäs’s traditional black against white intrasquad game that also includes NHL players with ties to Brynäs like Jakob Silfverberg, Mattias Ekholm, and Calle Jänkrok. Caps prospect Christian Djoos also played in the game. Even though Bäckström couldn’t play in the game, he was still present to sign autographs after the game ended.

Unfortunately his hip surgery prevented him from taking part in Brynäs’s traditional black against white intrasquad game that also includes NHL players with ties to Brynäs like Jakob Silfverberg, Mattias Ekholm, and Calle Jänkrok. Caps prospect Christian Djoos also played in the game. Even though Bäckström couldn’t play in the game, he was still present to sign autographs after the game ended.  Photo Credit: Jan Buler gd.se

Bäckström at Brynäs hockey school. Photo Credit: Brynas.se

From around July 19:Bäckström at Brynäs hockey school. Photo Credit: Brynas.

From July 19, or there about: Bäckström at Brynäs hockey school. Photo Credit: Brynas.se

From around July 19: Bäckström at Brynäs hockey school. Photo Credit: Brynas.se

Nicklas Bäckström and Jakob Markström made a visit to Valbo HC's hockey school on August 14. Photo Credit: Valbo HC

Nicklas Bäckström and Jakob Markström made a visit to Valbo HC’s hockey school on August 14. Photo Credit: Valbo HC

Updated on August 26   

Nicklas Bäckström did an interview with Gefle Dagblad. The interview was published on  August 26. He told them that he has been on ice five times. Bäckström also said: ”I don’t know if I will be able to play right away when the season starts.”

Here’s the full interview. 

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro

Nicklas Bäckström on ice in Gävle. Photo Credit: Erik Engelro

Posts about Nicklas Bäckström on the blog

Nicklas Bäckström: “Of course I’m hoping that I will be ready for the start of the season”

Nicklas Bäckström is rehab training back home in Sweden

Nicklas Bäckström talks for the first time about his hip injury:  “I’ve been in pain since November”

Report: Nicklas Bäckström to have hip surgery this summer?  

Publicerat i news, translations | Märkt , , , , , | 2 kommentarer

André Burakovsky: “Now Everyone Knows Who I am”

André Burakovsky gave an interview to Swedish news agency TT. The interview was published in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter on August 11. The interview took place in late July in Båstad where Burakovsky played in a volleyball tourney and took part in a slap-shot competition, among other things.

In the video Burakovsky said that he plans on leaving for Washington on September 10th.

On his off season training and what it takes to play with and against the best players in the world

“You really have to work hard every day and truly want to get better. It’s hard work every day and the training sessions are not easy by any stretch of the imagination. It always feels great once you’re done, though.

You have to put in that kind of work to be on that [NHL] level. The players I play with are damn good and it’s hard to get a spot on the team. It’s not something you have, it’s something you have to keep earning every single day.”

Burra in Båstad with Rikard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Patrick Cehlin.  Photo Credit: Rikard Rakell,'s IG.

Burra in Båstad with Rikard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Patrick Cehlin. Photo Credit: Rikard Rakell,’s IG.

The Washington Capitals’ trainer gave Burakovsky a training schedule to use while he works with his own trainer, Jonas Morin, in Sweden. His Swedish trainer keeps in contact with the team in Washington during the summer.

“I wake up at eight and then I go to the gym where I start working out at around nine. After that I go back home to eat lunch, and then I’m back at the gym again at around five o’clock.

When I get back there, I will undergo tests to see where I’m at. If the test results are worse than they were previously, the meeting with the trainer is not going to be fun.” [Ed.Note: I can’t be 100% sure if he is talking about meeting with the trainer or the coach since in Swedish we use the word “tränare” for both coach and trainer.]

Burra in Båstad. Photo Credit: TT

Burra in Båstad. Photo Credit: TT

6:43 into his first NHL game he scored his first NHL goal. With that he became the first Washington Capitals’ player to score in his first game, since Alexander Ovechkin did it in 2005.

“After I scored that goal, I just skated around for five minutes without being able to grasp what had really happened. I was all over the place.”

It was an up and down season where Burakovsky played both with the Hershey Bears in the AHL, and on the top line in Washington. He also got his first taste of what the Stanley Cup playoffs are like.

“Even if it was fun and the biggest thing I have done in my life, it’s actually nice to have the first season in the books. This way I can just focus on looking ahead to the upcoming season. Everyone knows who I am now, so of course that will make things harder.”

*************

Marcus Johansson lives in Karlstad during the summer and he has been working with trainer Johan Asplund this summer as he has in the past. Asplund was the the trainer for the Karlstad based SHL team Färjestad for eleven years and now he is back on the job after a few years off.

Fellow NHLers Jonas Brodin and Oskar Klefbom are also part of the same training group as Johansson.

Posts about André Burakovsky and Marcus Johansson on the blog

André Burakovsky talks about his first two years in North America (Part II )

André Burakovsky talks about his first two years in North America (Part l )

Burra being Burra

Burra in the beginning 

Marcus Johansson: “I’m not worried about that, I think I’ll continue to play there”

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Marcus Johansson: “I’m not worried about that, I think I’ll continue to play there”

Marcus Johansson is currently a restricted free agent (RFA), and earlier this summer Johansson and his agent chose to file for a player elected arbitration. In most cases the teams and players come to an agreement before the arbitration hearing. But when they don’t, things can sometimes get ugly like when Mike Millbury, then the general manager of the New York Islanders, made Tommy Salo cry during an arbitration hearing.

Hopefully it won’t come to that during Marcus Johansson’s hearing, if they indeed get that far. According to the Washington Post the hearing will probably happen: “Several sources that have indicated that both sides are trending toward a hearing”. Reached via email recently, Johansson’s agent Marc Levine wrote, “Nothing to comment on at this point other than we continue to prepare for the arbitration hearing.” The arbitration hearing is set to take place on July 29.

Marcus Johansson is spending his summer in his old hometown of Karlstad, Sweden, the city where he played for Färjestad from age 16 until he left for the NHL in 2010. When speaking with Värmlands Folkblad, Johansson said that he couldn’t reveal much about the negotiation between the two sides and he didn’t seem concerned at all about not getting a new contract in order.

Marcus Johansson in Karlstad. Photo Credit: Håkan Strandman, vf.se

Marcus Johansson in Karlstad. Photo Credit: Håkan Strandman, vf.se

“I’m not worried about that, I think I will continue to play there. My focus right now is on training hard and getting myself prepared, for I know I will be playing. We will just have to wait for everything to be dealt with and finalized. It’s all part of the normal process and I have people over there that are doing the things they are supposed to be doing.”

The Washington Capitals have about $10.3 million in cap space left to sign goaltender Braden Holtby, who is also scheduled for an arbitration hearing soon, and Marcus Johansson. Holtby is asking for $8 million, and the team is offering $5.1 million, per Alex Prewitt. Meanwhile, Marcus Johansson is asking for $4 million plus, and the team wants to keep him closer to $3 million, per Prewitt again, via Sportsnet.

I should point out that at the time Värmlands Folkblad interviewed Johansson, Holtby was thought to be asking for $1.5 million less than the $8 million figure that surfaced today.

Marcus Johansson also discussed the 14 game long playoff run against the Islanders and the Rangers, and describes the series against the Islanders as a [old school viking style] holmgång. Additionally he reveals to Värmlands Folkblad that he was playing through an injury in the playoffs.

“It was damn hard and I got into some small injury problems early in the playoffs and that made it hard for me to perform at a maximum level. But at the same time, that teaches you to just put your head down and play through it anyway.”

He didn’t specify when exactly the injury occurred, but one possibility is this collision with Cal Clutterbuck in game three against the Islanders.

“I’ve never been part of a series with that much hitting before, and it wasn’t just the usual suspects that were throwing their bodies around. It was a real holmgång, hockey at its best.”

It was quite the different story playing against the Rangers. ”It wasn’t as tough. The main focus there was on controlling play and puck possession. It was night and day, really.”

Marcus Johansson felt that the Capitals were the better team in the Rangers series. “It was hard. We had the lead 1-0 in game five, and had already won 3 games but then they tied the game and managed to win it. We should have won then and I think we were the better team all through out.”

Winning is everything to Johansson. ”There’s no other goal. It’s the final and winning is all it’s about. We weren’t satisfied at all with last season but we are heading in the right direction.”

Johansson commented on Barry Trotz’s importance to the team. “It’s been good. This time it felt like the fresh start was real, it was exactly what we needed and it had effect. Even if we didn’t win, we showed that we are on the right track.”

Marcus Johansson taking part in Karlstad Open with Oscar Klefbom, Magnus Nygren, Jonas Brodin- Photo Credit: Håkan Strandman, vf.se

Marcus Johansson taking part in Karlstad Open with Oscar Klefbom, Magnus Nygren, Jonas Brodin- Photo Credit: Håkan Strandman, vf.se

Johansson discussed putting down roots in Karlstad. “I’ve built a house here now, so it feels like this is a real home base, something to come home to plain and simple. When you are gone for 8-9 months a year, it feels good to have a steady place to come back home to when you are not working.”

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Nicklas Bäckström: “Of course I’m hoping that I will be ready for the start of the season”

Nicklas Bäckström did an interview with Swedish radio station Sverigesradio. The interview was published on July 18th. My translation of the first part of the conversation is below.  

When you get home for the summer, the main thing is to spend time with family and friends that you don’t get the opportunity to see during the season. Training takes a lot of time as well. I’m trying to enjoy the Swedish summer, not that it’s easy on a day like this when the weather is bad. But at least we had some nice days earlier in the summer. I like to sit down for a cozy barbecue dinner and just hang out and talk with family and friends. I have a daughter now and it’s great to watch her grow and develop every day.

How much do you train during the summer? Could you take a couple of weeks off after the season had ended?

I usually take about 14 days off, but since I underwent surgery after the season ended, I had to rest a bit longer than that this year. In a normal year I like to get things going pretty soon after the season has ended. The training gets more ramped up as the further into the summer you get, and later on I go on ice as well. Personally I like to start my training for the upcoming season almost right away after the previous season has ended.

Nicklas Bäckström rehabbing while talking to Gefle IF's trainer Johan Holmström. Photo Credit: Magnus Hägerborn, Gefle Dagblad.

Nicklas Bäckström rehabbing while talking to Gefle IF’s trainer Johan Holmström. Photo Credit: Magnus Hägerborn, Gefle Dagblad.

What type of injury did you have that required surgery?

It was a hip injury that I had the surgery on and I felt it was time to do something about it. I can’t say that I’ve been tortured by it, what can I say? I have felt it during the season and wanted to get rid of it.

So you had it for the entire year?

Since sometime in November. I didn’t really feel it when I was playing because during games you have other things to think about (laughs).

It sure sounds serious. You obviously don’t undergo surgery for kicks and giggles.

It’s been a cause for concern and I wanted to take care of it, so that I did.

So you are not fully recovered yet then?

No, it’s going to take some more time. We will just have to wait and see how things go exactly, but of course I’m hoping that I will be ready for the start of the season.

When you are home in Gävle, like you are right now, are you getting a lot of attention from people wanting to get autographs?
Heh. It’s pretty calm on that front. I think people in Gävle are pretty used to me being here so it’s not really a thing, and I’m maybe not the guy that’s out on the town very much either, so..

What’s your hometown now, as you see it?

My hometown will always be Gävle, and Valbo since that’s where I’m from. But at the same time, I spend most of my time in Washington and that’s where I live for at least 10 months of the year. In the beginning when I got over there it didn’t feel like home but you grow into it gradually, and I have to see it as my home now. Gävle will always be home for me since that’s where I spend my summers and that’s where I’m from and where I grow up.

You are good at hockey but where you good at any other sports growing up before you chose to focus on hockey?

I played a lot of floor hockey, soccer, golf and tennis. I was pretty decent at floor hockey and golf. I don’t know, but I think I have some ball sense, so maybe that’s why. I like to do a other sports than just hockey, it’s fun.

Do you think you could have been as good as you are at hockey in any other sport?

I don’t know, it’s hard to say but if I were to start over from scratch I would want to see how good I could get at golf.

It’s not too late. You can pick it up after your hockey career is over.

Yeah, you never know. Maybe I could try to qualify for the senior tour (laughs).

How old were you when you started focus only on hockey?

I think I was fourteen. That’s when I moved from Valbo to Brynäs and that’s when I decided that I would do hockey full time, in the summers as well.

Nowadays kids might have to start focusing only on hockey as early as seven to nine years old. What do you think about that?

I think It’s deplorable. I think it’s good that they can try out different types of sports so they figure out what feels good. Besides, who can really look at a nine year old kid and see that he will be good at seventeen or eighteen?

No one can do that. I personally believe that you should try out as many sports as you can and want so that you can figure out what you like. Also, it’s good that they get to go outside and get moving. It’s great.

Nicklas Bäckström playing for Brynäs. photo credit: Jan Düsing, expressen.se

Nicklas Bäckström playing for Brynäs. photo credit: Jan Düsing, expressen.se

You really like to workout and practice.

Absolutely. I always had in the back of my head that the way you practice is the way you play, and I think there is a lot to that. Maybe things are a little different when we have a lot of games in a short time frame. Maybe then you have to hold back on the training and practice and focus more on recovery. But when you do have a couple of days between games, I think it’s important to have good practices and by practices I mean on ice sessions.

With the amount of games you play how much time do you really have to practice?

Yes, sometimes it’s at least four games a week. At the beginning of the season, the practices tend to run longer. During the season, especially at the end, they tend to get shorter. It gets more important to think about getting enough recovery time in since the body gets beaten down playing that many games.

It’s a delicate balance that you have to strike, really. All coaches are different and they also have to talk to the players to figure out where the players are at and how much treatment they need. There’s a lot of things to consider. A normal practice usually lasts 45-60 minutes. At the end of the season it’s more like 30 minutes.

Can the play suffer and decline when the practice time gets cut in the second half of the season?

Yes and no. For some players, they feel better when they can go out on the ice and feel the puck so they don’t lose their feeling. Other players need to rest to be able to focus, so that they can perform at their top level. I would say that it varies a lot from individual to individual.

Which type are you?

I’m both. Sometimes when things aren’t quite working, I like to go on ice to try to get the feeling back. But other times when your body feels totally spent, it might be better to rest.

Next season will be your ninth season in the NHL. Is it pretty much the same or have a lot of things changed in the league?

I would say that the league is faster now. I thought the tempo was high when I first got over there but it’s even faster now, especially in the playoffs. That’s when you really see how much it changes from the regular season to the playoffs. The speed in the playoffs is so damn fast.

Also, when I first came over, there were a lot of fighters in the league. Every team used to have one player that was a fighter and that’s not the case any more. Maybe you can say that it’s a more skilled league now.

Is it more fun to play in the league now when the game is played with more speed?

Yes, it’s awesome. That we play on a smaller ice surface makes it go even faster, that in turn makes it an even bigger challenge, and I really enjoy that. I think it’s more fun for the fans, too.

Is it more fun to play on the smaller rink than on the European sized rink?

Absolutely. Smaller ice surface, greater challenge and more entertainment for the fans. You can suddenly get a scoring chance from nowhere, one little mistake is all it takes.

Since the European ice surfaces are bigger, the distance to the goals is bigger too. You don’t get the dangerous chances as you get on the smaller ice. So I personally think that it’s much more fun to play on the smaller rink.

I would have thought that for a player like you, that sees the ice as well as you do, would have preferred to play on the bigger ice sheet, you would have more ice to “show off” on.

Yeah, but it’s more ice to cover as well (laughs).

In part two of the conversion Bäckström talks about having a leadership role on the team, who his best friend on the team is, and who’s the best player he has played with, among other things.

Read more about Bäckström’s rehab training here.

NoVa Caps fans has also written about the same Bäckström interview. You can read their take here.

Posts about Nicklas Bäckström on the blog  

Nicklas Bäckström is rehab training back home in Sweden

Nicklas Bäckström talks for the first time about his hip injury:  “I’ve been in pain since November”

Report: Nicklas Bäckström to have hip surgery this summer?

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

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

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

Publicerat i news, translations | Märkt , , | 8 kommentarer

Nicklas Bäckström is rehab training back home in Sweden

Nicklas Bäckström is back home in Gävle, Sweden for the summer. Gefle Dagblad’s Magnus Hägerborn stopped by the training facility where Bäckström and some other NHL players such as Calle Järnkrok, Elias Lindholm, Anders Lindbäck, William Karlsson and Jacob Markström are preparing for the upcoming season. It is not a normal summer of training for Bäckström, though, because this year he is forced to focus solely on rehab training after having a surgical procedure on his hip.

Here’s a recap of the injury situation:

In late May Nicklas Bäckström underwent arthroscopic hip surgery. The Washington Capitals said the day after the surgery, “We are confident that Nick will be completely healthy prior to the start of the 2015-16 regular season.”

A little over two weeks later, Bäckström gave an interview to Gefle Dagblad where he said, “I’ve been in pain since sometime in November so we had to fix it. It’s hard to say how long it will take for me to come back. It varies from individual to individual, but five months is a time frame I have heard. Right now my main focus is to get back the mobility in my hip again.”

Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan told the Washington Post at the GM meeting in late June, “I think his hip surgery went well. He’ll be close to starting the year, it looks like…I know [from] talking to the trainer and the doctor that everything’s gone well, they expect the rehab to go well. It’s hard for me to predict. Optimistically, I’d say I’m hoping he’s coming back for training camp.”

During his talk at the National Press Club, Barry Trotz said that the team is exploring adding another center and that the injury wasn’t a problem until about February when they had to start monitoring the situation more closely. (click here to get the full quote from Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post).

Earlier in the week when Trotz was on the radio on “Elliot in the Morning”, he expressed some concern that Bäckström would get behind conditioning-wise since he is only allowed to do rehab training.

With that in mind, it is nice to see video of Bäckström working up a sweat on stationary bike at the multisport facility called Korpen Gävle Strand. Just like last summer when Bäckström worked out at the same facility in the crossfit section, it is not the most luxurious part of the facility. It is small and crowded. But it is still where a handful of Swedish, mostly Gävle based, NHL players choose to train.

“I like the environment and it feels good to be here,” Bäckström told Gefle Dagblad.

“It definitely makes the training easier when you know you have people to buzz with later,” said Jacob Markström.

Anders Lindbäck started the trend of working out at Korpen Gävle Strand. The other players who followed Lindbäck train a lot together but Bäckström can not join them this year. Instead he works out alone, going through his rehab exercises from the trainers in Washington.

Nicklas Bäckström rehabbing while talking to Gefle IF's trainer Johan Holmström.  Photo Credit: Magnus Hägerborn, Gefle Dagblad.

Nicklas Bäckström rehabbing while talking to Gefle IF’s trainer Johan Holmström. Photo Credit: Magnus Hägerborn, Gefle Dagblad.

”It’s back to basics that is the thing right now. Working with machines is almost dead now. People have realized that this is the most natural and efficient way to train. Even if the hockey guys are not doing pure CrossFit, it’s the feeling they are after,” said Johan Holmström, the trainer for the local soccer team, Gefle IF, that practices at the facility.

More posts about Nicklas Bäckström on the blog

Nicklas Bäckström talks for the first time about his hip injury:  “I’ve been in pain since November.”

Report: Nicklas Bäckström to have hip surgery this summer? 

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

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

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

Publicerat i news, translations | Märkt | 6 kommentarer

André Burakovsky talks about his first two years in North America (Part II)

André Burakovsky is back home in Malmö, Sweden. Recently he sat down in the Burakovsky’s outdoor room with local blogger Johan Svensson, a.k.a. MrMadHawk, and had a lengthy chat. The video was  first published in Kvällsposten. If you missed part one of the conversation, here’s a link to part l.  My translation of part ll of the conversation is below.  

It’s tough to come down there, knowing that you have been scratched from the NHL. The only thing you can do at that point is to prove that you belong, and I did play really good down there.

The coach in Hershey gave me a lot of praise. I got right back up after two AHL games. It continued going so-so in the NHL. In Hershey I could relax but in the NHL I couldn’t relax and focus on playing my own game. It took some time to come back but eventually I did, I scored some more goals. It was going up and down like that for me all the time. I was down in Hershey again for maybe six games?

Burra and Liam O'Brien in Hershey.

Burra and Liam O’Brien in Hershey.

I absolutely didn’t want to do that but I just had to push through it. I talked a lot with Jacob de la Rose about his time in the AHL and he felt the same way, that it’s not where you want to be. So it wasn’t exactly fun but we talked a lot about it. [Ed.note: Burra and de la Rose played together on the Swedish junior national team. de la Rose was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 2013, 11 picks behind Burra, and he also spent time both in the NHL and AHL this past season.]

Jacob de la Rose and André Burakovsky celbrating midsummer together in Leksand, Sweden.

Jacob de la Rose and André Burakovsky celbrating midsummer together in Leksand, Sweden.

I did actually play well down in Hershey and the next time I got called up, I continued to play good and then the playoffs started, and I think I had really, really good playoffs and Barry told me as much in the meetings after the season had ended, that he was really impressed by my play in the playoffs.

Do you have any lingering bitterness since you didn’t get go to the World Juniors and then still ended up not playing in the Winter Classic?

Of course I would have loved to play for Sweden at World Juniors, there’s no debating that. I love playing for my country, and it’s fun to get back to playing with everyone I know in my age group. It would also have been fun to compare yourself against the players you been playing with through the years to see how much I had developed compared to them. I wanted to go but at the same time I wanted to play in the Winter Classic and be part of the whole experience in Washington, since that is such an unique thing.

He [Trotz] told me the day before the game that I wouldn’t be on the ice for the Winter Classic and that obviously wasn’t fun at all. He said that he wanted to give the veteran players an opportunity to play since it was their last chance, and that I would get many more chances at playing in games like that, so that was one of the reasons. So it was just for me to hop on the bike and watch the game on TV. It was still fun to take warmups and to skate out in front of all those people. It was an experience.

You had a magic game against the Rangers in the playoffs.

Yeah, that was a pretty great night. It felt good against the Islanders too, when I got in after 2-3 games. I did well and created a lot on my own, made a lot of great passes, and Barry saw that, too, and he increased my ice time up to sixteen minutes. So I could tell he had faith in me.

About that game against the Rangers, I had felt good all series so far and I created lots of chances even before my first goal, but I couldn’t finish. But then I took the puck from Kreider along the boards, I cut to the middle of the ice and I had in the back of my head that in the pre-scouting they had said that the Rangers are leaving the middle of the ice open. I saw that Brouwer was open but I thought I’m free in the slot, I should just shoot and it went in.

It was pretty cool to score my first playoff goal in an important situation and to get to do it on Lunkan [Henrik Lundqvist] too, someone that I always looked up to him, too, since I was little and he played for Frölunda.

andre-burakovsky-goal

In the second period, Brouwer kicks the puck to me and I got an almost one on one with the goalie from the side. I just to cut to the inside while protecting the puck and get off a backhand shot. I hit it good and it goes post in. It was amazing to score a game winning goal in a playoff game.

andre-burakovsky-goal1 22

But then you lost the series against the Rangers.

We were a minute and a half from making it to the next round in game five, I think, so it was pretty rough. The margins are very slim. It stings especially because we had a real good team and things felt good against both the Islanders and the Rangers.

We really felt that we could have beaten any team. But the Rangers really came to play in those final two games and Lunkan was standing on his head. So did our goalie but Lunkan was great and it was hard to get anything past him.

It feels like the Caps really have a bright future ahead of them though.

Absolutely. We have many good players, our defenders look strong and John Carlson has really taken some enormously big steps forward. He is one of our leading players. Also, Brooks Orpik with all his experience and he has won everything you can win. He’s a real good player and a leader in the locker room, too, and that you can add Niskanen to that. I think we look real strong on defense.

On the forward side, we have four units that really work and our fourth line is great. I think it’s top five in the league as far as ranking fourth lines goes. They are really good at grinding down opposing teams. The first line with Ovechkin and Bäckström has always worked. Our power play is real solid so we really have a base that we can build on to get far in the NHL next season.

You are going into that important second year this upcoming season. How do you feel about that?

Now I know how things work after I have tried it out for a year, I can build on that. What’s more important is that I focus on my summer workouts. We are working hard at getting me to gain some weight so I get heavier and stronger. Then I need to deliver at camp as well.

We had a good talk about how Barry views my role on the team next year and I feel excited about going into my second year.

How big are you today?

Ehh?

I mean how much do you weigh?

I’m 187 centimeters tall, almost 188 (6’2″), and I weigh 92 kilos (203 lbs). So I’m a bit heavier than in my Malmö days. I’m a bit bigger and stronger. Everything is going up and that’s important.

 

That’s pretty tall and your dad isn’t exactly tall.

 

Yeah, he’s like 166 centimeters (5’5″) or something. He’s really short, I really have no idea where I got it from since no one in my family is especially tall. It looks like I got all of it.

André och Robert Burakovsky. Photo Credit: Sydsvenskan

André och Robert Burakovsky. Photo Credit: Sydsvenskan

 

How much do you think being tall works is an advantage in the NHL?   

 

I don’t know, If you look at someone like [Martin] St. Louis, he’s not tall and he’s still one of the best in the league. There’s a lot of small guys that still are very strong and that can hold you off, so I don’t know how much it really matters. But I like to be taller, I think it has some advantages to it. But the smaller players in the league are still very skilled and good.

 

You turned 20 this year so you have every opportunity to become a great NHL player.  How big do you think you can get in the NHL?

 

My goal is to have a long career in the NHL and play until you can’t play anymore. Well maybe not quite as long my dad but…

 

Is he finally done playing now?

 

I hope so but I’m not sure. [Ed.note: Robert Burakovsky is 48 years old and played for a local Malmö team called Limhamn last season and is very well traveled hockey player, to say the least]. But I’m hoping that I can play in the NHL until I’m 35 or 37. That’s the goal.

André och Robert Burakovsky. Photo via blogg.vf.se

André och Robert Burakovsky. Photo via blogg.vf.se

 

There’s a lot of wear and tear during a NHL season but I’m assuming that you stay at nice hotels and travel well.    

 

Yes, we always stay at the best hotels and have our own plane that only we use, and there are only first class seats on it. We travel well and the service is top-notch.

It’s amazing that you can have it that good but of course we play a lot of games, practice a lot and that does wear on your body. That’s why it’s important to really take care of your body and don’t cut corners.

It’s important to always stretch and to go in and receive treatments. I feel like I always have to sit in an ice bath after every practice and game, that way I keep my legs fresh for when it really matters. We have amazing doctors and masseurs that are around the team that help us 24/7 if needed. Recovery and getting help with recovery is really important, that you get the help you need.

[Ed.Note. It’s interesting to compare Burakovsky’s view on what type of help the team is providing for their players with what Evgeny Kuznetsov’ had to say on the subject two weeks ago to the Russian radio station 93.2 SportsFM, via RMNB: “Recovery process and medicine are at a different level, although it seems that is at a higher level in the KHL. In Russia you get a lot of help with recovery, but in the NHL you have to solve that problem by yourself. You have to find a masseur by yourself. We try to visit a sauna and a masseur after a game. That is very important after hard games. If you don’t pay enough attention to recovery, the fatigue will accumulate. You have to pay attention to your health. If you don’t take care of it yourself, nobody is going to help you.” (Click through to read all of Igor Kleyner’s excellent translation over at RMNB. )

When I first read Kuznetsov’s comment, I figured it had to do with him being a rookie. From a Nicklas Bäckström translation I did last year:

Q: “With the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, sometimes I think that some of the rookies think that everything is so easy and that they are the center of the universe.
How often do you come across kids that maybe need to be taken down a notch?
It happens, and I think that young players often…not that I’m that old…

Q: But you are not that young either.
I’m in the middle.
Anyway, it feels like the players that get drafted get talked up by media, and things like that and they feel great hearing that, of course. It’s on the older players on the team to make sure that things are done the right way, that they get started at the bottom and work their way up. When I got over here as a nineteen year old, I remember Olie Kolzig and the other older players on the team were very firm in making sure that the unwritten rules for rookies were followed.
Q: Like what?
Well, you are not lying on the massage table during your first year. You have to go outside the rink for that.
Q: Pick up the pucks at practice.
Pick up pucks, always standing at the back of the food line, always making sure that everyone else has their plates full before you take food for yourself.”

It’s odd that two players in a similar situation can feel so differently about something, unless Kuznetsov was “playing it up” or maybe I should say ”playing it down” for a Russian media outlet.

Anyway, let’s get back to Burra in Malmö, shall we.]

Do you see the World Cup in 2016 as potential goal even though you just made your NHL debut?

Absolutely. I’m not satisfied by just making the NHL, I want to continue to take steps forward. I want to be a leading player in Washington, to be a top player there. I also want to make Tre Kronor and be a good, established player there.

Elias Lindholm and Filip Forsberg have already taken that step and played well with Tre Kronor at Worlds, so maybe it’s not all that far away?

Yeah, absolutely not. I got an email from Mårts [Pär Mårts, the Swedish National team coach] and they came over to watch us play. They showed some interest which is great, obviously. Foppa [Filip Forsberg] and Elias are one year older and they have made their debuts now and I’m hoping to do the same soon.

How good are the players born in 1995 compared to the players born in 1994? Both Jacob de la Rose and Lucas Wallmark [Wallmark was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the fourth round in 2014] have signed NHL contracts.

I think it’s particularly great that Wallmark has signed, he is an amazing player and one of the smartest players I have played with. It was so great when de la Rose got his shot to play with Montreal. I talked a lot with him during the season and we helped each other. I think the 1995 crop is good and the 1994 group are amazing with players such as Hampus Lindholm, Elias Lindholm and Forsberg.

Playing with the national team can be problematic for you since you are wearing number 65. How are you planning on fixing that?

I think Erik just has to move over…Haha, I’m only kidding. I’m the kid so I probably have to change my number.

You played with #18 with the national team before so maybe you can go back to that when Erik has stolen your number.

Yeah, I would consider wearing 18.

How long are you planning on staying home in Malmö?

I haven’t really decided. I know I’m going over to Washington in September but I’m not sure if it’s early in the month or in the middle. I also talked with Tom Wilson from the team about visiting with each other. I don’t know if I’m going over to see him or if we are taking a trip somewhere together. But me and Tom have plans to do things together.

Is he your best friend on the team?

Yeah, we live together, too. He is one year older than me so we get along great and hang out 24/7, so we are real good friends.

The other Swedes are a few years older than you?

I hang out with them all the time, too, and we get along great. The three of us have so much fun together. I lived with Bäckström for a while before I was supposed to find a place of my own. With Mackan and me, it’s almost like we are brothers. We make fun of each other all the time. It’s always a great time when the three of us get together.

So is it Bäckström that is the dad then?

Bäckström is the dad and Mackan is the big brother.

Tell me more about how it is to train in a group with other former Malmö players under the supervision of Bullen [Jonas Morin]?

The training is great but we are not really training much as a group. Some of them wanted to train with Morin because they saw how much progress I made training under him. We train separately for the most part, except for when we run uphill and when we do kickboxing.

When I work alone with Jonas, what’s so great about it is that he is up close and personal all the time so it’s really hard to make any mistakes, and when I do make mistakes he is there to correct any mistakes I do right away.

Are you planning on going on ice with Malmö [the hockey team] this year?

I hope so, that they will allow me to get on ice with them. It will help me to get ready for camp.

How important is it to be ready once the camp starts?

It’s important. You don’t want to come over unprepared and look like Bambi on ice. It always feels good to be prepared.

You realize that you can become a great Malmö athlete, with both Zlatan and Therese Sjögran retiring soon. It’s time for hockey to get a king in town after all those soccer players.

I definitely think so. Soccer has been dominating Malmö long enough so I think it’s time for hockey to take over. We have a lot of hockey players that already are very good but maybe don’t get as much attention as they deserve. I hope I can become a Malmö great.

Posts about André Burakovsky on the blog:

André Burakovsky talks about his first two years in North America (Part I) 

Burra being Burra  

Burra in the beginning 

Publicerat i Översättningar, translations | Märkt , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 kommentarer