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.”

Henrik Zetterberg scores a shootout stunner


Henrik Zetterberg’s shootout goal against Mike Smith is a beauty, but it might not be wholly original. Some people might think of Kent Nilsson. Many more will bring up Peter Forsberg’s name. I have a faint belief that Zetterberg’s peer Mike Ribeiro uses a similar move from time to time.

Either way, it’s a slick and almost unfair technique, as Smith found himself the victim of the highlight of the night after getting the opposite treatment when he stopped Marian Gaborik on a penalty shot on Wednesday.

The Detroit Red Wings came out on top 3-2, giving them 13 consecutive wins at Joe Louis Arena and the Phoenix Coyotes two shootout losses in as many days.

Forsberg backs off claim that Sweden threw a game in 2006 Olympics


Peter Forsberg really should’ve thought twice about admitting Sweden threw a game in the 2006 Olympics. The amount of blow back and outrage from some fans for the rather unsportsmanlike display has painted Forsberg and the Swedes in a negative light.

That’s why Forsberg is stepping back from his claims and saying he was taken out of context.

“What I meant to say was that even for someone like me, with a winning mentality, it is sometimes difficult to find full motivation for a match that doesn’t have to be won at any cost,” Forsberg said.

Backpedaling that hard, that fast could help you travel backwards in time.

In a report that aired over the weekend in Sweden, Forsberg said that he saw no reason for Sweden to beat Slovakia and that while coaches didn’t tell them to tank the game, the players may have taken it upon themselves to do it anyhow. A win over Slovakia would’ve put the Swedes against Canada or Russia in the next round. Instead, they got Switzerland on their way to winning gold.

To paint the picture for you, that 2006 Sweden team had Forsberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Mats Sundin as well as Henrik and Daniel Sedin among other superstars. Henrik Sedin denied the allegation that they threw the game. Slovakia wasn’t exactly as talent-laden featuring Marian Hossa, Zdeno Chara, and Marian Gaborik among others.

Sedin denies Sweden tanked game in 2006 Olympics

Did Sweden throw a game in the 2006 Winter Olympics in order to get a preferential path to the gold-medal game?

Peter Forsberg seems to have insinuated his team intentionally lost to Slovakia – or at the very least, didn’t give it a full effort – in order to avoid a matchup with Canada or Russia in the medal round.

But Canucks captain – and fellow member of the gold medal-winning 2006 Swedish Olympic team – Henrik Sedin says Forsberg is mistaken.

“No, not at all,” Sedin told reporters today. “I was really surprised when I read it. We didn’t talk about it in the room, the coaches didn’t talk about it. I was surprised. When you put that jersey on, you want to win games. I don’t think we thought about that before the game. Maybe with a few minutes left it came up, but not during the game.”

Mats Sundin, Sweden’s captain in 2006, has also refuted what Forsberg said.

Anyway, the truth probably lies somewhere between outright tanking and putting it all on the line to beat Slovakia.

“You have to remember, too, that we were already in the quarter-finals,” added Henrik. “It wasn’t a big game for us, so to speak. So that might have been part of it.”

PHT Morning Skate: In which Sweden tanked a game in the 2006 Olympics

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Adrian Dater of The Denver Post shares a story which Peter Forsberg says Sweden tanked a game in the 2006 Olympics to get an easier road to gold. Wouldn’t you rather play Switzerland than Russia or Canada? Of course you would. (All Things Avs, Expressen)

Jason Spezza says teammate Jared Cowen should be in the talk for the Calder Trophy. Sadly, his name isn’t Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. (Ottawa Sun)

Joel Quenneville won his 600th game as a coach last night. Congrats to the coach and his awesome ‘stache. (

Drew Doughty says Terry Murray’s firing was the change they needed. Enjoy having fun with Darryl Sutter though, Drew. (L.A. Kings Insider)

Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson continues to say that Scott Arniel is not the problem in Columbus. Is he trying to fall on his own sword or what? (Puck Rakers)

The Senators are believing that Kyle Turris is a great fit for them. They’d better hope so. (Ottawa Sun)

Daniel Briere will be centering his 12th different line for Philly this season. And you wonder why he’s been a bit off this year. (

It’s not always rainbows and unicorns for the Predators when they win. Things get a bit emo in the honky tonk. (Tennessean)

Tim Connolly is back on the top line for Toronto now. I wonder how Ville Leino is working in Buff… Oh, right. (TSN)

Ken Hitchcock gives up to the fans for the Blues’ big win. Look out for St. Louis, kids. (Post-Dispatch)

Finally, Niklas Hjalmarsson might be Swedish, but his goal had a lot of English on it. (NHL)