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Sweden’s Backstrom not feeling added pressure despite stepping into larger role in Sochi

Feb 23, 2014, 2:05 AM EDT

Ice Hockey - Sweden vs Switzerland Getty Images

No Henrik Sedin. No Henrik Zetterberg. Those two injuries could’ve had a negative impact on Sweden’s men’s Olympic hockey team.

(Remember, Sedin was ruled out of the competition days before the Olympics and Zetterberg had to leave after one game due to a back injury.)

Instead, a difficult situation has turned into an opportunity for Nicklas Backstrom to become a main man up the middle, and he’s taken full advantage to this point in the tournament. Through five games, the now 26-year-old Backstrom, centering the top line, is tied with Daniel Sedin and Erik Karlsson for the team lead in assists with four. He’s been forced to emerge as one of the key contributors on a team now competing in the gold medal game against the defending Olympic champions from Canada.

His production and valuable minutes – he’s averaged 18:22 per game – have helped Team Sweden secure at least a silver medal. Now, there’s one game left. One game to put it all on the line for one’s country, to win gold. No pressure, right?

“I don’t feel like I have pressure from outside,” Backstrom told NHL.com. “I always put pressure on myself and have high expectations of myself in a tournament like this or when you go into a new NHL season. That’s a similar situation.

“I think that is enough, to put the pressure and expectations I have for myself. Obviously we have a lot of ice time and the coaching staff believes in us, so it is something we have to take care of.”

  1. djshnooks - Feb 23, 2014 at 4:44 AM

    Main contributor? 4 assists?

    Patrick Kane had 4 assists…how’d that work out for him and team USA?

    A blind kid with no arms could have 4 assists playing with guys like that! Lol.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Feb 23, 2014 at 7:06 AM

    Apparently he’s out with a migraine. Tough break for the Swedes.

    • leafsilluminati - Feb 23, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      make that a banned substance

  3. westof1club - Feb 23, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    4 assists puts him ahead of your heartthrob Crosby in total points. Nice try

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