Washington Capitals first line center Nicklas Backstrom flew to Düsseldorf, Germany, early Sunday morning. A short while later, he officially joined Tre Kronor, Sweden’s national team, in Cologne, taking part in their morning skate.
“The flight over was fine, but you’re always a bit tired,” Backstrom said to Aftonbladet as translated by Magnus Cadelin.
Backstrom was all smiles when he took the ice, later giving New York Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist a big hug near the locker room.
But there were some complications to Backstrom joining the team.
According to Aftonbladet, Backstrom had no insurance for the tournament as of Saturday. The 29-year-old could not get on the ice or even work out with the team Sunday before those papers were finalized, but Backstrom, after a bit of a wait, eventually took part in the morning skate (which was extended for Backstrom’s sake).
Team Sweden assistant coach Johan Garpenlöv said the team would leave it up to Backstrom if he’d play Sunday (2:30 PM EST) against Denmark.
“He had a long flight here and he’s a bit tired,” Garpenlöv said. “We’ll talk to him after practice, but if he wants he can play.”
Backstrom wanted to play. The IIHF’s official site listed Backstrom in the lineup for Sweden’s second to last game of the preliminary round.
Backstrom will center a line with William Nylander and Oscar Lindberg.
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