Nicklas Backstrom drawing Peter Forsberg comparisons


Over the last few years, Nicklas Backstrom’s received the kind of accolades most Swedish players can only dream of.

He’s been tagged as the best young Tre Kronor in the NHL and, in 2009, won the prestigious Viking Award, given annually to the best Swedish player in North America.

But now that he’s in the midst of Washington’s compelling playoff run, he’s receiving arguably the highest honor a Swedish hockey player can get:

Comparisons to Peter Forsberg.

“I know that Nicky likes playing like Forsberg and he likes that style,” Troy Brouwer told CSN Washington. “He’s a big boy and a strong kid so he can create a lot of space for himself.”

It was this play in particular — during Saturday’s 3-2 win over the Rangers — that Backstrom’s teammates making Foppa remarks:

The art of hitting the opponent before the opponent hits you is classically Forsbergian, something Caps forward Jason Chimera noted.

“I think [Backstrom] took a page out of Forsberg’s book,” Chimera said. “Usually, guys don’t expect to get hit when they’re trying to hit a guy with the puck.

“He’s done that a lot. That’s why we don’t go after him at practice.”

If there’s one guy that knows first-hand what it’s like to face Forsberg, it’s Caps head coach Dale Hunter. The pair played against each other and were teammates in Hunter’s final season (he was traded to Colorado at the 1999 trade deadline and helped the Avs get to the Western Conference final.)

Hunter says he sees the similarities between Backstrom and Forsberg.

“He’s strong on his feet and he’s got great balance,” Hunter said. “Forsberg did it a few times to me, so I’d go in very slowly against him.”

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.