Nicklas Bäckström talks about his new role as a UNICEF ambassador and what he expects from Barry Trotz

Nicklas Bäckström talked to gd.se about the upcoming season and his new role as an ambassador. My translation is below.

Nicklas Bäckström on missing the playoffs for the first time:

“It wasn’t fun, but at the same time, the new season starts very soon and we have changed some personnel and added some new players, so that feels good.”

On Barry Trotz being known mostly as defensive oriented coach, and how that will work for a Caps team that isn’t known for its defense:

“I’ve talked to him and I think he is very focused on building a team and working together as a group. I think that’s how you win, so having him as a coach can only be great.”

On his expectations for the season (he is leaving Sweden for Washington on Monday, but not before finally receiving his Olympic silver medal on Thursday night.) 

“I’m really excited about going back there again, I think that everything has been working great for me, I’ve been going at it hard and I’m ready to go.”

Earlier this year, Brynäs announced that they would start a partnership with UNICEF, and one part of that cooperation was that they would play without any advertisement on their jerseys this upcoming season. Instead they would do like Barcelona have done in the past, and just have the UNICEF logo on their chest.

 

Nicklas Bäckström and Jakob Silfverberg wearing their ambassadors outfits.   Photo Credit: Brynas.se

Nicklas Bäckström and Jakob Silfverberg wearing their ambassadors outfits. Photo Credit: Brynas.se

Two days ago, on the 25th, Brynäs announced that Nicklas and another Brynäs alum and current Ducks player, Jakob Silfverberg, are the new ambassadors for UNICEF and Brynäs.

 

Here’s what Nicklas told the Brynäs site about his new job as an ambassador:

“It’s very flattering and fun to get asked to be an ambassador. That I personally can be part of helping Brynäs IF and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in their work for children’s rights in society is something I look forward to. I think I have a lot to offer in meetings between me and the children. Those are times where you can sit down and really have the time to talk and listen to them.”

Jakob, Nicklas and the no longer shy kids at Lillhagaskolan  Photo Credit: Andreas Norinder

Jakob, Nicklas and the no longer shy kids at Lillhagaskolan Photo Credit: Andreas Norinder

The project is called “En bra start” meaning “A good start”. Brynäs players will visit a school every week and play sports with the kids, help them with their homework, and talk about things like respect and attitudes. Bäckström and Silfverberg started their new ambassador gig right away with a visit to a middle school called Lillhagsskolan.

”It’s so much fun to meet them and ask them questions. It’s very cool that they are here,” said Axel Schelin, one of the students at the school.

Bäckström and Silfverberg seemed to have a good time, too. “It’s incredibly inspiring to come and visit schools like this. The kids are a bit shy at first but they get going after a couple of minutes when we have gotten to know each other a little bit better,” said Bäckström.

Silfverberg added, “It’s incredibly fun. Everyone is not getting the same opportunity, so I feel that it’s really important and fun to get involved with this. And we get so much back from the kids too.”

Photo Credit: Andreas Norinder.

Photo Credit: Andreas Norinder.

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Caps seventh-round pick, Kevin Elgestål to play for the Swedish Junior National Team this weekend

Caps seventh-round forward pick from this year, Kevin Elgestål, will play with the Swedish U20 team in Jönköping, Sweden this weekend. It’s a four-nations tournament that will run Friday through Sunday. The participating teams, apart from Sweden, are Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic.

 This will be the first time that Elgestål plays with the U20 national team, though it’s not the first time he will represent Sweden internationally. Previously he has played both with the Swedish U17 and U18 teams, including playing in the U18 World Junior Championship and at the prestigious Ivan Hlinka tournament with the U18 team.

Kevin Elgestål

Kevin Elgestål

 

Henrik Leman, who covers Elgestål’s current team Frölunda, wrote about Elgestål in Gothenburg-based GT.se a few days ago:

“Kevin Elgestål, 18, is so hot in the eyes of Washington, that they have given him the marching orders to not just report to their rookie camp but to their “real” main camp as well.

 I’m not saying that Elgestål is a NHL player this fall, but it’s my interpretation that they believe in him. That’s how it feels.

Fun. I’m guessing that the he will get the chance to play some games with Frölunda’s SHL squad this year.”

Take from that what you will. Personally, I’m taking it with a pinch of salt.

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Why is an elite playmaker making a visit to play therapy?

Every summer since 2010, Nicklas Bäckström and his organization Gefle Sport and Future Foundation have been organizing a charity golf tournament at Gävle Golfklubb, and this year was no exception. As of July last year, the tournament had raised 500,000 Swedish kronor for the pediatric clinic at Gävle hospital alone according to tv4.se. But that’s not the only charity they raise money for. Last year they also supported a nonprofit that helps children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. But the pediatric clinic appears to be the main charity as far as I can tell.

After the first tournament in 2010 Bäckström said:

“It feels good to be able to give back. It’s something we wanted to do for a long time. Doing it in the form of a golf tournament was just perfect. I think everybody had a good time and we lucked out with the weather. I couldn’t wish for a better outcome.

Thanks to all the interest this tournament has gathered, we are able to help a lot of kids which feels great because it’s a good cause. Me and the others that are taking part in this have been very fortunate in life and the fact that we can help children that haven’t had it as easy as we have and give them some hope for the future feels incredible.”

 

 

 

Nicklas Bäckström visiting children at Gävle hospital in 2010.  photo credit: Gun Wigh

Nicklas Bäckström visiting children at Gävle hospital in 2010. photo credit: Gun Wigh

 

 

 

Nicklas Bäckström visiting children at Gävle hospital in 2010.

Nicklas Bäckström visiting children at Gävle hospital in 2010.

 

At the 2013 tournament Bäckström said:

“Some children don’t have the same opportunities that I had as a kid because they are sick, or have other problems growing up. It feels good to give back and know that the money will go to the right people.”

This upcoming Sunday, Bäckström will make another visit to Gävle hospital and their play therapy program for kids. The play therapy program is where sick children get help to prepare for the treatments they need, by doing what kids do best, play.

The kids are given honest information on what will happen to them and access to drawing material and toys such as dolls. Then they can draw what is going to happen in their treatments, and use a doll so that they can do the things to the dolls that the medical personnel later will do to them, such as give a doll a shot. They also use play therapy after and in between treatments so the kids can “play through” their experiences.

The foundation’s money is being used for things that can help take the children’s minds off of what they are going through, if only for a little while. An example of that is when a child come in for treatment he/she will receive a gift and a diploma that says:

Partial diploma (Photo cropped to maintain privacy of recipient).

Partial diploma (Photo cropped to maintain privacy of recipient).

You are receiving this diploma because you are a fighter that possesses tons of courage and bravery.

Signed, Gefle Sport and Future Foundation and Nicklas Bäckström

(The gift in this case was an iPad Air and a gift certificate for 500 kronor to use in iTunes.)

Update, August 25  


During Nicklas Bäckström’s visit to play therapy yesterday, Gävle based newspaper Arbetarbladet.se was present, all pictures and qoutes below are from their reporter/photographer Conny Svensson.  

 The kids and Nicklas talked about hockey school and computer games over a classic swedish fika (drinking lemonade and eating cinnamon buns). “I feel strongly about these kids and the play therapy isn’t receiving much money as it is.”

”Him visiting means a lot to the kids, they look up to him,” said play therapist Anna Sving Sjöblom.

Nicklas and Brynäs’ mascot Tiger visits 16-year old, Amani Mend. “My brother Ibrahim said that he would come in via the emergency room to meet you”, said Amani.

Nicklas and Brynäs’ mascot Tiger visits 16-year old, Amani Mend. “My brother Ibrahim said that he would come in via the emergency room to meet you”, said Amani.

 

“It feels great to know that someone outside of my family cares about me,” said 14-year old Rohlita Larsson.

“It feels great to know that someone outside of my family cares about me,” said 14-year old Rohlita Larsson.

 

24 auguati 2014

 

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24 auguati 2014.jpg 2

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Jakub Vrana isn’t sure where he will be playing this season

   Will Caps’ prospect Jakub Vrana play in North America or Sweden this upcoming season? He isn’t quite sure on that himself  just yet. In an interview with Corren’s Per Bergsten he talks about his future, what the Capitals’ want him to improve, and what it’s like to talk to Alexander Ovechkin.  My translation is below.

 

 Linköpings HC’s talented player, Jakub Vrana, was drafted in the first round by the Washington Capitals this summer, Vrana’s rights are now owned by the NHL club, and in September he is going “over there,” to, if possible, fight for a spot in the best league in the world.

If he fails to make it, he has a return ticket to Linköping, and he will continue to play in the SHL.

“Of course I want to play in NHL. It’s up to the club to decide when they want me. If it’s not happening now, I will continue to develop, and hopefully go over next year instead,” said Jakub Vrana.

 

New Line

If nothing unexpected happens, Vrana will play his first game for the season with Linköping on Friday, in their first ever Champions League game against the Czech team Pardubice. As of the time of this article’s publication, the Washington Capitals hadn’t given  official permission for Vrana to play, but that is supposedly more of a formality.

Going by the last few practices, he will play on a line with Mattias Sjögren [Ed.note: Yes, it’s the same Mattias Sjögren that was part of the Capitals organization a few years back.] and the newly added Jacob Micflikier. The plan is, unlike last year, to play the talented Czech on one of the two top lines.

If he is still here, that is.

 

Jakub Vrana practicing with Linköping.   Photo Credit:  Peter Jigerström.

Jakub Vrana practicing with Linköping. Photo Credit: Peter Jigerström.

 

“I didn’t get to play all that much last season, but I learned a lot, and I feel more ready now. Everything moves faster and everyone is stronger.”

Have you received any demands or requests from Washington?

“Well, they of course want me to get a bit bigger. But that’s not always the most important thing.”

Getting a call from Ovechkin

To take a spot on a team with stars like Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Bäckström will be tough, to say the least. If he can’t find a place on one of the top two units he’ll most likely stay another year in Linköping, and try to take another step in his development there.

“Whatever happens, it will be for the best,” says the 18-year old, who has a memory for life from attending the draft in Philadelphia.

“I had heard a lot about it, but I didn’t know what I should expect. It was an amazing feeling when I heard my name get called. I don’t think I ever have seen my mom that happy before,” said Jakub Vrana.

Right after, he received a congratulatory call from the teams Russian captain, Alexander Ovechkin.

“It was very cool that he called me. I hope to talk to him again soon.”

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Nicklas Bäckström is finally getting his Olympic Medal

According to Pro Hockey’s Editor in Chief, Linus Hugosson, Nicklas Bäckström will finally receive his Olympic silver medal. Bäckström was part of the Swedish team that finished second after Canada in the Sochi Olympics earlier this year.

He was one of the core players on the team but was prohibited from playing in the final in what he himself deemed to be the ”biggest game of his career” because he had slightly over the acceptable amount of Pseudoephedrine in his system.

On March 14 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruled that a one game suspension was a sufficient punishment and that he would be awarded a silver medal along with the rest of the team.

He will receive the silver medal on August 28 in a ceremony that is taking place in his hometown Gävle, prior to a game between his old team Brynäs (the team that he played with just a few days ago) and the Stockholm based team Djurgården.

Read more about the ceremony here.

*******

Caps’ D-prospect, Christian Djoos scored a goal in Brynäs’ preseason game tonight against  Almtuna. Brynäs won the game 5-2.

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Nicklas Bäckström: ”We are getting a fresh new start, and I think that we need that”

Nicklas Bäckström played in a scrimmage today with his old team Brynäs. After the game he talked to Gefle Dagblad’s Linus Norberg. I’ve translated part of the conversation below.

This is the third time you have been on ice this summer, how did it feel?

“It felt good. The tempo wasn’t too bad and the Brynäs players haven’t been on ice much either so I thought it was an ok game, actually, and lots of goals for the big crowd, too. All of us players appreciated the big crowd immensely.”

What can the team take away from a scrimmage like this? 

”I think it’s a mix between presenting the team and the new players and at the same time, Gävle has a lot of NHL players that got the opportunity to be part of the game, which was great fun. I think it’s good for the fans to see a scrimmage to start off the season.”

 

photo credit:  @DanielVenom14

photo credit: @DanielVenom14

There wasn’t a lot of physical play tonight, did you go at full speed tonight?

”I did that at least. I thought the tempo was good but, as you say, the physical play was maybe not there. It’s just the third time on ice for most of us so maybe we were a little bit rusty but I honestly thought it was a good scrimmage.

I think Brynäs will be a good team this year, they have a young team and they are hardworking so I’m curious to see how it will go for them this year. Hopefully it will turn out great.”

Nicklas Bäckström and Anders Lindbäck practicing on August 1.

Nicklas Bäckström and Anders Lindbäck practicing on August 1. (photo credit: Niklas Ehlin)

Nicklas is getting the inside scoop on Barry Trotz from Calle Järnkrok. (photo via http://josephineswordh.tumblr.com/)

Nicklas is getting the inside scoop on Barry Trotz from Calle Järnkrok. (photo via josephineswordh.tumblr.com)

(photo via josephineswordh.tumblr.com )

(photo via josephineswordh.tumblr.com

Team White and team Black are sharing the same locker room.  Photo Credit: Brynas.se

Team White and team Black are sharing the same locker room. photo credit: Brynas.se

With more than 5000 people in the crowd the autograph signing after the game lasted for quite a while. photo credit: Brynas.se

With more than 5000 people in the crowd the autograph signing after the game lasted for quite a while. photo credit: Brynas.se

How do you feel about the upcoming NHL season?

“It feels good actually. We have a lot of new additions to our organization and a new coach…all new coaches, really. And a new GM. It feels like we are getting a fresh new start, and I think that we need that. We are getting coaches that are more defensively oriented and I think that we need that.”

A few days ago, Bäckström talked to Expressen’s Gunnar Nordström about his summer. 

”I’m  going to Calgary at the beginning of August to attend my teammate Mike Green’s wedding”  

Nicklas Bäckström arrived home early in Sweden from the US this year because his team the Washington Capitals missed the playoffs. He has spent most of the time with his family at their summer home just outside of Gävle.

“We have been in Spain for a bit and right now I’m on a mountain hike [Ed.note: in Sylarna, Jämtland. Sylarna is located on the border between Sweden and Norway.]”

”I’m going to Calgary at the beginning of August to attend my teammate Mike Green’s wedding,” Bäckström said. Due to the wedding he will miss the annual charity games with Peter Forsberg’s and Markus Näslund’s IceBreakers that usually will make the biggest hockey stars cancel their vacation plans. (Ed. note: Bäckström will miss the IceBreakers games for the second straight year. Last year he was unable to participate because his girlfriend was pregnant and they had to leave to return to the US early).

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Nicklas Bäckström: ”I’m not going to miss any games”

According to expressen.se’s  long time NHL reporter Gunnar Nordström Nicklas Bäckström is not seriously hurt, and he will not miss any games. If everything  goes according to plan, Bäckström will be in the lineup when the Washington Capitals play their next game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

Photo Credit:  Patrick McDermott

Photo Credit: Patrick McDermott

 

It was early in the second period of Tuesday night’s game against the LA Kings that Bäckström was on the receiving end of a big hit, from LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.  Bäckström didn’t return to play after the hit and according to the team he had suffered a upper-body injury.

Bäckström sent a text message to Expressen’s NHL reporter Gunnar Nordström on Wednesday morning, “I’m ok, it’s nothing serious. I’m not going to miss any games,” Bäckström told Nordström.

Update, March 27 17.43 pm (CET) 

Nicklas Bäckström took part in the team practice on Thursday morning and talked to the press afterwards, confirming what he told Gunnar Nordström the day before.

 

 

 

 

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