One of the best stories coming from this year’s IIHF World Championship is the blossoming relationship between Capitals’ star centerman Nicklas Backstrom and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ young forward William Nylander. The two have led Team Sweden to the tournament final against Team Canada on Sunday, and are having a ton of fun along the way.
NoVa Caps previously wrote about the history between Nicklas Backstrom and the Nylander family. When Backstrom first arrived in the District before the 2007-08 NHL season, he was just 19, with no place to live. Fortunately for Backstrom, fellow Swede Michael Nylander and his family, which included young son, William, gave Backstrom a place to stay while he found a place of his own.
Now, just 10 years later, Backstrom and Nylander are linemates for Team Sweden, and doing serious damage in the 2017 IIHF World Championship. The two are responsible for seven of Tre Kronor’s 15 goals in just four games played together.
Pulling the “All-Nighter”
Backstrom arrived in Cologne, Germany for the Championship last Sunday morning, following an all-night flight from DC. The jet-lagged Backstrom would play in a preliminary round game later that evening, scoring a goal and an assist. His assist was a thing of beauty, setting up Nylander for Team Sweden’s third goal of the game.
Chemistry Off the Ice
Following Sweden’s semi-final win over Finland on Saturday, the Swedish duo faced the media line together where Backstrom decided to interject a bit of levity in the middle of Nylander’s post-game interview. [translated below]
First “their chemistry is wonderful”
Bäckis: you aren’t good at ping pong, right?
William: “you don’t have a chance”
Bäckis: “i kicked his ass before at least”
William: “he thinks he can beat me, but there’s no chance”
The two star players have developed a tremendous chemistry on and off the ice, and it’s been on full display this past week during the championship. The two have been seen numerous times smiling and joking with one another, looking to be really enjoying their time together. It’s clear a close relationship has developed between the two and that’s truly refreshing to see.
Now if we can just get Nylander to Washington.
By Jon Sorensen