Photo: Linda Forsell
Nicklas Backstrom is no stranger to Russian hockey. During the 2011 lockout, Backstrom put up 25 points in 19 games with Alex Ovechkin‘s Dynamo Moscow. Now back in Russia with Team Sweden for the Sochi Olympics, Backstrom will once again suit up for European hockey– but this time he’ll be playing against his BFF Ovi.
Nicky and Alex spoke with Henrik Sjöberg of Expressen about what it’ll be like to play against each other, and if Nick expects kid gloves from Alex should they collide on ice.
(No, he does not.)
And things got a little testy– in a playful way. Jake Ware has your translation.
The question of whether Ovechkin’s and Backstrom’s will meet seems inevitable, and Alex is all for it. “I’m hoping for Sweden against Russia in the final,” Ovechkin told Sjöberg. “[Nick Backstrom and I are] playing for different teams, and I’m sure there’ll be a battle between the two of us if we meet.”
The exact nature of that battle is still uncertain, though Backstrom has an idea of how it’ll go. “He’ll crush me, definitely,” said Backstrom, before Ovechkin had a chance to to open his mouth.
“I’m sure he knows that too and won’t keep his head down too much,” added Ovechkin.
The threat of physicality doesn’t mean there isn’t tremendous respect between them. “We have known each other for six or seven years now,” Ovechkin tells Sjöberg, “He’s grown as both a person and a player. He’s a good teammate and a great friend.”
Swedish superstar Henrik Zetterberg’s name came up, but Ovechkin had none of it. “There will be many superstars out there on the ice. But you’ve got the biggest one right here,” said Ovechkin, pointing at Backstrom.
And that was about as much mutual respect as they could muster. Backstrom admitted he is “not the type” to gloat if he wins, refusing to hang his gold medal up in Ovechkin’s stall. “That said, [Ovechkin] would definitely do that to me if they won. We can’t let that happen.”