This week, Washington Capitals prospect Bobby Nardella received his Swedish work permit and boarded a plane from Chicago to Stockholm via Copenhagen. Nardella is on loan to Djurgarden of the SHL for the entire 2020-21 season.
“The trip was good, no problems at all. Eight to nine hours all in all. The plane was pretty empty too so I had a lot of space. I had a little jet lag when I arrived (on Tuesday), but I feel much better now”, Nardella told HockeyNews.se.
On Wednesday, Nardella practiced with Djurgarden for the first time. Nardella was asked about his first workout on Swedish ice following the practice.
“It was really good. High tempo. I see that everyone is very good and has a lot of speed and skill, “ said Nardella.
During Wednesday’s practice, Nardella worked on the powerplay unit with Dick Axelsson, Sebastian Strandberg, Niclas Bergfors and Manuel Ågren.
Bobby Nardella får en styrande roll från blå i Djurgårdens ena powerplayenhet. Kanske redan ikväll mot Linköping? #twittpuck #difhockey #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/tRJfqrzjBt
— HockeyNews.se (@HockeynewsSe) October 15, 2020
Nardella, who hadn’t played a game since March 8, was tossed right into the fire for Djurgarden on Thursday against Linkoping. Nardella’ s hiatus from the game was readily apparent in the early going.
On his first shift he gave away the puck, which led to a quick score for Linköping, tying the game 1-1. Later in the game he sent the puck over the glass and had to sit in the penalty box while Linkoping stretched their lead to 4-2.
But Nardella, #7, would eventually knock the rust off and help Djurgarden climb back into the contest. He would record a nice cross-ice feed for a power play assist to tie the game 4-4.
For the game, Nardella was -1 in 19:23 of ice time. Not bad considering Nardella’s time away from the game and the crazy week he had.
During the ongoing corona pandemic, Nardella has been at home in the Chicago area. In the short time he has been in Stockholm, he has noticed a big difference in how the United States and Sweden are dealing with the pandemic.
“There is a very big difference from here. All wear mouth guards. There are significantly fewer people out and there are very strict rules in the restaurants so it is quite nice to have it a little normal here,” said Nardella.
Nardella was asked by HockeyNews If he had any knowledge of Djurgarden prior to signing with the team.
“Yes, I talked to Axel Jonsson Fjällby who I played with in Hershey last season. He told me a lot about Djurgarden, and how much he loved playing here. There is a coach, Anders Sörensen from Sweden, who I played for when I was little and I talked to him too. I have heard nothing but good things.”
Nardella fully appreciates the opportunity he’s been given and is looking forward to the experience.
“I really want to develop as a player and of course there is a lot to discover in a city like Stockholm. I have never been here before so I will try to learn as much as I can and take in the experience as a whole.”
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