Many SEL teams had their first practice on ice today. All three Swedish Washington Capitals players hit the ice with three different SEL teams: Marcus Johansson with Färjestad, Mattias Sjögren with Rögle, and Nicklas Bäckström with Brynäs.
Marcus and Färjestad was on the ice for about 80 minutes for today’s practice.
At the end of last summer, Marcus Johansson started to work with Ulf Karlsson, the former coach of the Swedish National track and field team.
”We worked together at the end of last summer and it felt so good that I decided to work with him for the whole summer this year. It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of grunt work. But it’s been good for me both mentally and physically.” Marcus told Aftonbladet after today’s practice.
As seen earlier this summer, it it looks like Marcus has put on some more muscle.
”Yes, people keep saying that but I don’t think I have put on more than a couple of extra kilos. Besides, I’m still just twenty years old so I’m probably still growing. My goal isn’t to become as big as possible. That’s not my role, that is for other people.”
According to Färjestad’s official site (so take that for what it’s worth), Marcus’ skating already looks to be in game shape, his skating have its usual stride, smooth and fast. Watch the video below to see him skating. Marcus told the team’s site that he will continue to train with the team as long as they let him.
Marcus is planning to return to Washington on August 28.
New Cap Mattias Sjögren went on ice with his old team Rögle, and fellow NHL:er Andreas Lilja.”It feels good to be back here again, and it’s really nice to have a team to practice with. They are training hard, so I feel that I will be in top shape when I return to Washington,” Mattias told Helsingborgs Dagblad. He continued: ”It’s going to be a big challenge for me. There are a lot of good centers on the team, it’s going to be really tough. I was over there after I signed and both the city and the club made a really good impression on me. Everything felt very professional.”
In Gävle, Brynäs held its first practice in front of just over 100 people. That number may not sound too impressive but the practice was held at the very small practice rink next door to the main arena, Läkerol Arena, where Brynäs play their home games.
”I’m happy that I once again get the opportunity to practice with the team,” says Nicklas to Gefle Dagblad. ”My training has gone well this year and it feels good to be back on the ice again. I’m leaving for the States sometime in September and I’m planning to work out hard here in Gävle until then. That Brynäs lets me train with them means a lot, it’s very beneficial for me.”
Brynäs coach Tommy Johansson had this to say about Bäckström, ”He’s a world class player we are talking about and I think he can be a great inspiration for many of the other players out here on the ice. Nicklas is a really humble person and that is one of the big reasons he has gotten as far as he has.”
There were a lot of kids in the stands. One of those kids wasn’t too impressed with Nicklas though. Via Anders Sundin’s twitter: ”One kid to another at Brynäs first practice on ice: I want Bäckström’s stick.” ”Not me says the other kid I rather have Järnkrok’s. Bäckis is old.” Nicklas Bäckström born in Nov 1987.
I have to hand it to the kid though, he has good taste when it comes to hockey players. Calle Järnkrok is totally awesome. Here’s some video from the practice.