Have you ever heard of “the Djoos effect”? I think no one has. Until today.
During his day with the Stanley Cup, Christian Djoos invited fellow native of Gavle, Caps superstar centre man Nicklas Backstrom to share the joy with him at their old rink, Gavlerinken Arena. But during the interviews, conducted by host Henrik Harrysson from center ice, things got a bit awkward for the rookie Djoos.
“Christian, you won the championship during your first season with the Brynas junior team. You then registered your first senior game in 2012 – and Brynas won the SHL championship that spring,” Harrysson began. “And then you made your NHL debut and scored a goal with your very first shot in the league and eventually ended your rookie year as a Stanley Cup champion, with a club that has struggled to win in the past. Is this the Djoos Effect?”
(Think the Colbert Bump.)
Laughs and loud cheering from the stands made young Djoos visibly blush, from head to toe, while shaking his head.
“It was an amazing feeling winning with this group” Djoos responded after a minute or so. “The core players have been with the team for a long time and we got things going at the right time”.
When Nicklas stepped up to the interview position, he did so with a smile and a wink at his young teammate.
“We’ve all had our hopes up every year”, Harrysson said. “Every spring it seemed the Capitals were frontrunners for the Stanley Cup, but you always stumbled on a Rangers team or some kind of Penguins. What was the difference this year?”
“Well..”, Nicklas smiled and turned to Djoos for a second. “You said it before. It was clearly the Djoos Effect!”
Djoos looked uncomfortable once again as the sound of laughter bellowed from the stands.
“But Nicklas, you’ve won the World Championship twice, you’ve played in the Olympics and you’ve won the Stanley Cup. There’s really only one thing you’re missing. A gold medal with Brynas! So when will you come home and win the championship for Gavle?”
The home crowd exploded in cheering and applaudes that seemingly would never stop.
“I have two years left on my contract with Capitals and then we’ll see. You’ll never know, but I really hope I get the chance to come home and play for these fantastic fans and win that gold medal with Brynas.”
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When the official ceremonies, where Nicklas and Christian received a City of Gavle award concluded, fans were invited to the ice for the traditional picture taking with both of the players and Lord Stanley’s Cup. A long line formed from the stands, down to the ice. Luckily, my son Noah and myself got down there pretty quick things moved along at a good pace. Unlike André Burakovsky’s day on Thursday, fans weren’t allowed to touch or lift the trophy, but I took my chance to talk to Nicky and Christian. I pulled up my Caps jersey and showed off my Deadguin shirt under it. It caught Djoos attention.
“Hey Nick! Look!” he shouted, as Nicklas looked away for a second. Backy’s eyes lit up when he saw the iconic RMNB shirt, his eyes got a different spark and he looked at me and yelled, “Yeah! Finally we beat those guys!”
I explained to him, that eventhough I live in Sweden and have a six-hour time difference, I’ve watched about 95% of the games the last six seasons, most of them live in the middle of the night. Nicklas then halted the ongoing photo session, called me over and shook my hand, thanking me and my son for our support. Noah, being a Caps-obsessed 8-year-old, halted the line of picture-eager fans further when he fulfilled a promise to his soccer team, congratulating the players for their Stanley Cup win. Nicky bent down from his podium and spoke to Noah for a while, creating a life long memory for a young boy in the process.
We left the arena with a signed photograph with Christian, Nicklas and ourselves each. The almost four hour long drive home didn’t feel as dreary after all.
On Sunday, Backstrom has his official day with the Stanley Cup. He’ll bring it to his youth hockey arena in Valbo just outside Gavle, that carries his name, NickBack Arena. Backstrom have invited his former teammates from his youth player days to attend the special day.
RMNB is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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