Nicklas Backstrom recently talked to Expressen’s Gunnar Nordström. Here is a translation of the interview.
Nicklas Bäckström is home in Gävle again and has a new plan in place on how to become better prepared for the upcoming season. Former skater Sebastian Falk is his new summer coach for the off season training.
“I felt that it was time to try something new, but I am very grateful for all the work Anders Bergström has done for me, helping me prepare for the season these last couple of years. With Sebastian’s help I’m trying to improve my first strides to become a little bit faster. I’m also trying to improve my overall smoothness as a skater.”
What went wrong in this year’s Stanley Cup playoff? You were one of the favorites to win it all but instead you lost in four straight games against Tampa Bay in the quarterfinals.
“We had a hard time adjusting to their game plan. It’s as simple as that. They played smart and at the same time we underperformed.”
You changed your style of play in the middle of the season and became a more defensive-minded team. Did that have an impact on your playoff performance?
“Yeah, a little bit. We might need to be a bit more aggressive in the playoffs. I think it was important that we tightened up our defense but at the same time it can’t affect the offense like it did this year when you consider what type of team we have.”
”The thumb is no excuse”
How disappointed are you with your own performance in the playoffs?
”To be completely honest I can’t use the thumb as an excuse. I belong to the group of players that needs to be better, that’s just the way it is.”
How’s your thumb now?
“The injury is healed and the feeling in the thumb is back to normal again. I don’t even think about it anymore.”
There were a lot of rumors flying around that the coach Bruce Boudreau would get fired?
“I think it’s good that he remains on the job. It was us players that failed.”
”Playing for the national team is a great honor”
“I think it’s really great that some new things are happening with the team. I’ve been part of the team for four years now, it’s time for us to put all the pieces together in the playoffs. The whole team needs to think the same way and we need to work together as a team.
Ward was incredibly good for Nashville in the playoffs and Brouwer has won the Stanley Cup with Chicago. I think they will contribute a great deal for us.”
Henrik Zetterberg said recently that he will play at the World Championships if Detroit has an early exit in the playoffs next year.
“My feelings about this are the same as it always been – if I’m healthy, I’m going. That the tournament will be played at home for the next two years makes it even more special. It’s an great honor to play for the national team, so for me it’s a given to play when I can.”
Like last summer, Nicklas along with a long list of other Swedish NHL players will play for Peter Forsberg and Markus Näslund’s charity team the Icebreakers. As usual, the team is collecting money for sick children. They are playing three games this year, the first one on Wednesday in Umeå, then they play in Norrköping against Vita Hästen. According to Expressen, Vita Hästen has added some NHLers of their own to their team: Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson from Detroit and Nashville’s Patric Hörnqvist. Additionally, Michael Nylander is going to play for their team. It will be his first game back since he broke his neck in October 2010. The Icebreakers finish off their schedule with a game against Nyköping on Friday. The game against Vita Hästen will be televised on Swedish TV (TV10 19.00 on Thursday).