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.
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?
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.
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.”
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