At the ripe ol’ age of 32, Nicklas Backstrom finally considers himself a veteran, well “a little bit”. He’s in the middle of his 13th NHL season, just played in his 900 career NHL game, a Stanley Cup champion, but more importantly, the “Swedish Silk” still feels young.
“I still feel young. I have two kids at home and a little bit more to do outside of the ice, compared with before, which makes a difference,” says Backstrom to HockeyNews.se.
It was a year and a half ago when Nicklas Backstrom and the Washington Capitals got to finish the season as champions – after being a strong contender for the cup for multiple years.
“There are a lot of things that need to work together for it to work and when you have been there (winning the cup) you get an idea of how much that needs to align. It feels like we have a good team, however, we are improving, and anything can happen in the playoffs.”
Do you see yourself as a veteran now?
“Yeah, a little bit. I still feel young; however, I have been here for quite some time. I have more experience now compared with a couple of years ago.”
What’s the biggest difference for you on the ice?
“I know more what it is about, you have more playing formations, even though you still learn a lot, which is a lot of fun.”
Outside of the ice then?
“Above all, my two kids and more things to do outside of the rink. That’s the difference, however, it’s a lot of fun of course.”
There are a lot of young and promising Swedish players entering the league, while Backstrom is one of Sweden’s largest stars in the league.
“There are a couple of teams that are performing well this year. Buffalo and Edmonton, and there are some young Swedish players in Buffalo that may impress. However, it’s fun that Sweden can bring forth a lot of young confident players that directly fight to get a spot in the league, which is very impressive and good for Sweden” says Backstrom.
Backstrom’s right-hand man during all his years in Washington – Alexander Ovechkin – has 231 goals left before he reaches Wayne Gretzky’s record in the NHL and there are some discussions whether or not the Russian will make it.
What do you think?
“He has all the chances to beat it. He needs to keep going in the same direction as the last years. A lot of people say that he’s getting older, however, there’s nothing that will stop him in his office on the powerplay.”
The chemistry between you seems to last.
“It has been alright from the start. We can do better and are trying to be better.”
Translated by Sofie Bengsston