When his career is over and done with, Nicklas Backstrom will be remembered as the greatest center in Washington Capitals history.
Last January, Backstrom, the Robin to Alex Ovechkin’s Batman, became the 139th player in NHL history to tally 500 assists. The Swedish center has also been routinely mentioned as a candidate for the Selke Trophy, given to the league’s best defensive forward. But there’s still one part of Backstrom’s game that he would like to show off: his fighting ability.
Monday, in a fantastic interview with DC101’s Elliot Segal, a joking Backstrom teased that his first NHL fight is “coming soon” and suggested it could come against future Hall of Famer Joe Thornton.
The discussion about fighting occurs at the 8:50 mark.
Backstrom was first asked by Segal if he had ever gotten in a fight at the NHL level.
“Uh, I haven’t really yet, but I’m sure it’s coming soon,” Backstrom said, laughing. “I have to start something.”
Segal continued to prod. “So in the NHL, you haven’t dropped your gloves and punched someone in the face?”
“No, I wouldn’t say drop the gloves,” Backstrom responded. “Sometimes there are scrums in front of the net. Not really a fight.”
The discussion then turned to a recent viral fight between Joe Thornton and Nazem Kadri. While Kadri tried to grip Thornton’s jersey to gain leverage, the Maple Leafs forward accidentally ripped off part of Thornton’s iconic beard.
Segal asked Backstrom if he had ever seen something like that during a game.
“No, I have never, but I thought it was pretty funny though… where he just ripped a piece of his beard,” an amused Backstrom said. “That was great, I think.”
“I’m assuming he’s going to have it again with Wilson in March,” Segal said before being interrupted.
“Yeah. Or me. I don’t know,” Backstrom joked.
“That would be a hell of a fighting debut in the NHL,” Segal said.
“Oh yeah, I’ll just try to hide,” Backstrom deadpanned.
The first line center went on to reveal that several players have tried to egg him on to fight in the face-off circle, but the right opportunity just hasn’t presented itself.
“A couple of guys have asked me,” Backstrom said. “I don’t know. It’s usually when the other team is down so they want to get the other team going so it’s bad timing. I don’t know. Who knows? Maybe I drop the gloves someday. And I’ll call you afterwards.”
Backstrom spoke to Segal to promote their So Kids Can charity.
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