nicklas-backstsrom-assist

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea

Team Sweden took on the Czech Republic in the first men’s hockey game of the Olympics. It was a total beatdown. Erik Karlsson, playing in his first Olympiad, scored two goals. Henrik Lundqvist had 27 saves in the win.

But what about the Caps, Ian? What about the Caps?

Nicklas Backstrom had a point in 15:15 of ice time. The marker came in the second period when Nicky assisted on Karlsson’s second goal of the night.

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haley-backstrom

Screenshot via Christoffer S.

Britt Bäckström, the 84-year-old grandmother of Nicklas Backstrom, gave a video interview earlier in the week to the small-town newspaper Östersundsposten later picked up by Aftonbladet. Her comments about her grandson are curious. “He’s gonna make a fool of himself [in Sochi],” Grandma Backstrom said, as translated by reader Magnus. “He’s been playing so bad. For a long time.”

Aaaaaaaaalright.

Here’s one newsworthy thing (according to RMNB’s somewhat loose definition) that happened in the interview: Grandma Britt shared this baby photo of Nicklas Backstrom’s daughter, Haley.

Britt says of Haley, “She looks so much like Nicklas when he was born.”

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backstrom-ovechkin

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.

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Ovi poses with Maria, Artem, and Uncle Pavel. (Photo: @Ovi8)

All five Washington Capital Olympians packed their bags and left for the airport on Sunday. Players were scheduled to catch their NHLPA-arranged flights out of Newark International Airport around noon.

According to Nicklas Backstrom at Saturday’s morning skate, the players would fly directly into Sochi on a ten-hour flight. He was not looking forward to it.

“I’m not even sure it’s going to be exciting the first hour,” Backstrom said on Saturday. “Everyone’s going to be tired. We’ll get as much sleep as we can because when we wake up it will be morning. We need to get into a rhythm right way with [Russian] time.”

On Sunday, Alex Ovechkin, Backstrom, and John Carlson were all spotted by Rich Clune Chere of The Star-Ledger and NJ.com at Newark’s airport.

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United States Secretary of State John Kerry is in the house tonight and boy is he a busy dude. After meeting with Washington Capitals Olympians Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, Nicklas Backstrom, and Martin Erat, Kerry talked shopped with Caps coach and hockey hall of famer Adam Oates, who used to play for Kerry’s beloved Boston Bruins. Kerry also did an interview for CRL with Elliot In The Morning, accepted a Caps jersey from Majority Owner Ted Leonsis, and then dropped the ceremonial first puck before the game.

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backstrom-hit

You can usually find Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom on the ice quietly dealing out apples like he’s at a farmer’s market. But on Friday night after Nicky delivered a golden delicious pass to Jason Chimera which led to a power play goal, he decided to expand his skill set and lower the boom on fellow Swede and future Olympic teammate Niklas Kronwall. Awkward.

Look at this hit.

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Photo: Joel Marklund

Over the weekend, GD.se released a fascinating Swedish-language interview with the Caps’ reluctant star, Nicklas Backstrom. Interviewer Markus Bäckström (no relation) asked Nicky about the recent birth of his daughter Haley and how fatherhood has changed his life.

Backstrom also spoke frankly about how he feels more comfortable out of the spotlight. Friend-of-the-blog Jake Ware translates.

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This makes an excellent creepy wallpaper. Click to enlarge. (Photos by Patrick McDermott)

In 2008, the Washington Capitals launched Courage Caps, a program to benefit military charities through the sale of team-branded hats and shirts. This year the program will fund TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which provides support for families of killed American solders.

This year’s Courage Caps promotion will formally launch on February 4, when the team will put the merchandise on sale online as well at Verizon Center and Kettler. The day before, Jack Hillen will skate with some families the program has helped.

On Wednesday, the Caps sent us some photos of the new gear. Now in its seventh year, Courage Caps is starting to run out of military themes, but I think winter digi-camo look is a good one.

The chosen models, however, is where we’ll have our fun. Everything starts off well with John Carlson, the team’s resident US Olympian. Next in the gallery are Karl Alzner and Nicklas Backstrom, two of Washington’s most docile heartthrobs and noted not-Americans. I would gone with maybe an angry Casey Wellman, a Californian, draped only in an American flag. Or maybe Connor Carrick, feeding a Nathan’s hot dog to a bald eagle. Either way, it’s all for a good cause.

Here are the images of this year’s edition:

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Capitals Searching for Answers After Fifth Straight Loss

BackstromBattle

Photo: Scott Levy

For the second game in a row, the Capitals got blown out. The same things were to blame for Friday’s 5-1 defeat to Columbus and Sunday’s 4-1 loss to New York: dumb penalties and turnovers. What’s troubling, though, it’s that the players and the coaching staff recognized this after Friday’s loss. However, the mistakes only got worse against the Rangers. Washington has now lost five straight games.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” head coach Adam Oates told reporters after the game before ticking off the team’s shortfalls. “They didn’t really have to earn it.”

“We’re fighting an uphill battle,” he continued.

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backstrom-videobomb

I’m not sure when Washington Capitals players became all about video bombing each other during interviews, but I’m grateful. In fact, we’ve seen so many funny faces during interviews this season, you have to assume the players are keeping a leader board inside the locker room and whoever has the most at the end of the year gets a paid vacation to Vancouver to perfect the art with Ryan Kesler.

We’ve seen Joel Ward video-bomb Karl Alzner and Pierre McGuire, Ovechkin troll Tom Wilson, and Troy Brouwer brouwerbomb half the team.

On Friday, the most polite dude on the team even got in the action.

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