Heading in to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the tenth time in his career, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom is now an emotionally-scarred veteran. The 30-year-old Swede has been through playoff heartbreak after heartbreak throughout his career. Ahead of tonight’s game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, Backstrom spoke to Aftonbladet’s Per Bjurman and seemed at ease of the situation.
“We can’t change the past,” Backstrom said. “We have nothing to gain thinking about history. Maybe it’s sort of a mental obstacle, but one day or another we’ll get over it. I don’t know if I’m relaxed, heading into the playoffs, but we know what we’ve been through before. As I said, we can’t change the past.”
The regular season was a bit of a bumpy road for the Capitals at times, giving some much needed experience for a bunch of young players. Now come playoff time, Nicklas sees the value in the time invested.
“They’ve done some great things and gotten into the system quicker than anyone would’ve thought and that gives us a lot of energy,” Backstrom said. “[The rookies] are really fired up and enthusiastic, it’s great seeing that. Especially Christian Djoos. He’s gonna be our Playoff King.”
This is the first time the Washington Capitals are playing the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Stanley Cup playoff and Backstrom isn’t expecting an easy matchup.
“It’s going to be really tough this time too,” Backstrom said. “It is hard to play in the playoffs and Columbus feels like really difficult opponent. But we’ve been playing good lately and we have good feeling in the team.”
Almost a point per game throughout his career, Backstrom had a slightly less productive season than we’ve gotten used to. But the last month or so the smooth playmaker heated up, recording 26 points (9G + 17A) in his last 20 games.
“I had a bit of a slump halfway through the season but I didn’t give to much thought to it, since the team we’re doing well,” Backstrom said. “I’ve felt better as the season went along, the closer we’ve gotten to the playoffs. Hopefully I’ve saved my best hockey for the spring. That’s what you want.”
Thanks to Per Bjurman for sharing this interview.
Headline photo: Cara Bahniuk
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