Despite not making the playoffs, a lot of Washington Capitals players still have some hockey left to play. Last week, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin announced that Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and he will be representing Team Russia in the 2014 World Championships happening in Minsk, Belarus.

But what of the Caps’ Swedes? After winning a silver medal in Sochi, Marcus Johansson will likely not represent his home country due to a broken arm. On Thursday, Pär Mårts, Sweden’s national team coach, told Svenska Dagbladet that Nicklas Backstrom has turned down an invitation to play in the tournament this year.

When asked why, Mårts said Backstrom won’t be playing “for family reasons.”

Backstrom, who played several games for Sweden in last year’s World Championship, could use a break from hockey. In the beginning of the NHL season, his girlfriend gave birth to the couple’s first child, Haley Backstrom. The morning of the Olympic gold-medal game, Backstrom was suspended for taking Zyrtec, his allergy medication. The IOC later awarded Backstrom a silver medal.

This season also marks the first time Backstrom has missed the NHL playoffs as a player.

Other possible Capitals who may play in the World Championships include Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward, and Jason Chimera. Brouwer has been extended an invitation from Team Canada and will likely play. Darren Dreger reports that Ward has been extended an invitation. has learned that Hockey Canada officials have reached out to Jason Chimera’s agent to gauge Chimera’s interest in playing. Finally, CSN’s Chuck Gormley reports that Chimera has accepted an invitation and will play.

Karl Alzner and Braden Holtby, who were both at Canada’s Olympic orientation camp last August, are also on Team Canada’s radar.

The World Championships will take place May 9-25.

Swedish translation by Magnus Cadelin.

  • Lawrence

    Chim dawg going to worlds in Canada???? I mean, I know hes a good player and all, but that is a little surprising to me. Would be a great experience for Holtby and Karl. Brouwer and Ward are probably saying, :”it’s about damn time”.

  • VirginiaPatriot

    You go, Nick. Spent some precious time with that new baby!

  • Team Canada forward Jason Chimera. Yeah, that’s definitely going to take some getting used to. But I’m super happy for him.

  • Myan

    Good on the Backstrom family. Diapers don’t change themselves!

  • Catherine__M

    Erm, what ever happened to this from Katie’s article yesterday?
    “Nicklas Backstrom said Monday he hadn’t been officially asked to represent Sweden but anticipated playing as well.”
    I mean, the man can change his mind and all but that sounds a bit odd to me. So the story goes: he hadn’t been invited but expected to be invited and anticipted playing and then we hear from the invite-r that “oh yeah, um, we just invited him but he’s decided to spend more time with his family”.
    I’m not usually one for wild theories and negativity, and maybe I’ve spent too much time in DC but “more time with my family” is *never* more time with the family. Especially because we’re talking about a two week timeframe. But hey, someone could be sick, he could be injured or there could be issues of a personal nature that are none of our busniess. It still sounds odd given his recently stated expectations.

  • VeggieTart

    I fully understand. I hope Backie enjoys his time off.

  • Alex

    Makes me wonder if they meant the other Nick Backstrom…

  • Graham Dumas

    Finally, a reason to root for Canada!

  • Graham Dumas

    He’s Finnish

  • Alex

    Lol yup, I had a feeling that I f##ked up on that one…

  • CadleCreek

    The GBB runs deep inside you, come over to the dark side.

    **Peter can explain it to you.

  • haha

  • Graham Dumas

    I feel you: I’ve been there 🙂

  • Catherine__M

    Wild theories, negativity and the GBB? I’m fully aware. I’m a refugee from the WaPo comment section that (last I read them) were full of nothing but that (oh and the constant discounting of my opinion and mocking of my questions on the basis of my gender).

  • Myan

    Could be something as simple as him originally intending to play until someone in his family suggested that he spend more time with his daughter?

  • Sage Confucius

    I’m glad to hear this. After everything that has happened this year, he needs some downtime just being a dad. Let him enjoy his time off. He will be ready next season as always, and likely in a better frame of mind.

  • CadleCreek

    I don’t remember you from the post days. If you don’t mind, what was your username?

  • Catherine__M

    Easily could be, and I totally get and support that. But it’s just unusual the way this shook out (and that decision would be somewhat unusual for someone in his position but to each his own), that’s all for me.

  • Catherine__M

    No one you’d remember, really. It was years ago and I posted infrequently. So I wasn’t one of the regulars with whom you all were frequently engaged in battle.

    I’m not trying to be cagey but I’d rather not share my username because I’ve decided to keep my WaPo identity anonymous for when and if I do comment on anything political or personal and I use the majority of my real identity here and I’d like to not link up the two.

  • Myan

    For my sanity I’m going to try to not read too much into it…God knows I already spend too much time thinking/worrying about this team 🙁

  • birther?

  • Catherine__M

    The world will never know, says the woman with a very strictly non-political and non-partisan job.

    Truth be told, I’ve probably never made a political comment on WaPo in my life and can’t really imagine wading into that pool. I spend most of my time on there as everyone should: discussing the advice columns and feeling smugly superior about my own train wreck of a personal life while contemplating other people’s spectacularly poor decision making skills. Recently asked: “my ex-boyfriend dumped me for someone else, but he’s back in my life now and says that doesn’t love her and wants to get back together with me but won’t dump her until he knows if we’re going to work out. What should I do?” Headsmack.

  • RESmith

    Welcome to RMNB. I too am a refugee from the WaPo comments section. That was my experience as well and found it both annoying and exhausting. I went on to hear other voices and opinions but a lot of the names you refer to made it almost impossible to. It was definitely a bad environment and it made me a little embarrassed to be a Cap fan at times.

  • Kyle Reid

    Yea it would be surprising to me too except 22 players from team Canada’s Olympic roaster are either in the playoffs, injured or doing guest analysis (Luongo), including every single forward. That means there’s plenty of space for Chim, Ward and Brouwer

  • Tadd

    Nick is a dominant pivot in the best league in the world. Obviously he wa asked by Pär Mårts and Tommy Boustedt, if he wanted to play in Minsk. Nicklas said “No thank you”. We don’t have the same system over here, since we can’t muster up the same amount of world class hockey players like, say Canada och Russia.

  • Tadd

    I texted an old friend, who grew up with Nicklas and used to play with him in Valbo AIF, asking if he knew what these “family reasons” were all about. My friend answered that the only reason he could think of, was that Nick wanted to spend time with Liza and Haley. He didn’t know of anything dramatic in the family, serious illness, deaths or anything like that.

    Backy had a rough winter and wants to spend time with his family, instead of going to Belarus. I respect that through and through.

    The only Swedish players from the NHL who’s accepted the invitation to the World Championship so far is Eddie Läck of the Canucks and Mikael Backlund of the Flames.

  • Catherine__M

    Good info, and good point above that not many Swedish NHL players are going. I really didn’t think it was anything bad–just that it seemd a little strange that the seemed to think he was going and now isn’t. But simply changing his mind and truly wanting to relax with his family makes total sense to me 🙂