Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
On Saturday morning, a new episode of Washington Capitals’ senior writer Mike Vogel’s “Break the Ice” podcast featured center, Nicklas Backstrom. He sat down with Vogel in Episode 5 and spilled some interesting details from the 2006 NHL Draft Weekend.
After thirteen years in Washington (and an upcoming five more), Backstrom took us back to where it all started: the 2006 NHL Draft in Vancouver. The 2006 NHL Combine in Toronto was nerve-wracking for the young Swede, who told his agent he could not do it and ultimately backed out.
Backstrom flew to Vancouver a few days prior to the Draft. When he landed, going to the baggage claim was not a pleasant experience after he found out his luggage was gone.
His agent said to wait a day— it’s bound to show up, right? He only had one suit, which was for draft night. Other prospects were eager to meet him. Backstrom was only dressed in a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers. “Oh, this is not gonna end well,” the future Capitals player said.
Just 24-hours before the lights went up at then-General Motors Place, Backstrom’s luggage arrived and all went well as he was drafted in the first round and fourth overall by the Washington Capitals.
Meeting with scouts can be intimidating. Backstrom called his meeting with Washington “scary” since there were 20-25 people questioning him. Scouts like to throw out random and perhaps tricky questions to the prospects.
“Do you drink alcohol?” a scout asked Backstrom.
The Swede was beginning to question himself if he should just come out and say that he’s had a few beers before.
“Yeah, sometimes,” Backstrom admitted.
Vogel described him as having a “vision on the ice and competitiveness”. Backstrom added watching live games of the Brynäs IF (his father was the general manager) in the Swedish Hockey League made him fall in love with the sport even more, enhancing the “gift” he called the vision. He would intricately watch players’ positions, turns, and skating.
Backstrom also discussed his time in the development camp and how that shaped and prepared him for what was to come, future plans after retirement, and Ovechkin’s season, calling the captain and his best friend “unstoppable”.
The 45-minute episodes are available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Soundcloud and feature guests within the Capitals organization, which include alumni, in a personal, in-depth interview.
By Della Young
At least things improved for Nicky in Vancouver. Luggage showed up in time for the draft.