Most veteran Flames players are sitting on the sidelines during the lock-out, choosing to spend time with their wives, kids, mistresses, avoid injury, etc.
The good news is, Mikael Backlund isn’t one of the idle rich during the work stoppage. His long courtship with home town team Vasteras is over and he’ll be making his debut today with fellow alum Patrik Berglund. Swedish writer and friend of the site Uffe Bodin recently caught up with Backlund and asked him a few questions (warning! google translation).
"It would of course have been much better for me if it had been playing in the NHL. I had been looking forward to going back to Calgary and show me from my best side, but now we need to make the best of it and it will be fun to play for Västerås again…I’ve been really restless in recent weeks. I’ve really longed to play again."
Bodin also asked Backlund about his somewhat contentious relationship and move away from the club when he was 19.
"It was not what I had in mind and it was bit of a pain that last season, but we put behind us pretty quickly. Already the first summer when I came home, we talked about it and Vik was careful to say that there was no war between us."
When talking with Uffe about Backlund over twitter, I brought up the issue of the HockeyAllsvenskan being a somewhat "second tier" league. Bodin brought that up with Backlund as well:
Given where you are in your development, you do not know the headlines are too low a level to play on?
No, I think not. Hockeyallsvenskan is really good. It’s not a league where you can just go in and dominate. Some have had it a bit heavy at the beginning and you probably need some time to get into it properly…
A few players who have gone from the headlines to the NHL. It is a step down compared to the NHL, but if you come here and make something good out of it and build on it, it can be really good. Just look at Michael Ryder. He (had) 30 goals two seasons in a row after playing for Leksand during the last lockout.
The article also talks about the friendly rivalry Berglund and Backlund seemed to have during their development and how much they look forward to playing together now in their home town.
(Thanks again to Uffe for contacting Backlund and sharing his interview with me. You can follow Uffe on twitter here.)