One of the rites of summer for players is to travel home. This means pond-hopping for players from Europe who wish to see family and friends and enjoy the native experience, and it translates into some foreign-language features from the press of those foreign lands, especially if the player in question is a very high profile member of the nation to the game of hockey.
Case in point, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has been in several interviews in the Swedish newspaper Expressen this summer, and why wouldn't he be interviewed? Hedman completed his 6th NHL season and played for the Stanley Cup in June with the Lightning. Hedman scored 38 points in a season shortened to 59 games due to injury (10 goals, 28 assists) and was a plus-12. Hedman had a hot start to the season and Norris Trophy talk came up by way of it, but ceased when Hedman went down with a hand injury in mid-October. Hedman had things to say about GM Steve Yzerman, coach Jon Cooper and playing with Anton Stralman among other things.
These are loose quotes / generalized remarks made from the Hedman interview (which Patrik had listened to). The full transcript ran some 23 pages and... well, generalized remarks from what was said should be expected.
Lots of the discussion / interview was focused on Sweden, how it was to go to North America at a young age, the money issues that arise, differences with hockey club responsibilities. The focus here is on more current points with Hedman and the Lightning.
Regarding not being selected to play for the Swedish National Team the 2014 Winter Olympics:
- You can be disappointed, but you cannot be upset. They wanted to play with blocs of players from the same team/having played together before.
- I don't think any team could have beaten Canada in that tournament.
Speaking about the Stanley Cup Finals loss:
- It was totally quiet in the dressing room; we could hear the Chicago players and fans celebrating. Coach came in and said something - I have no idea what he said, and I don't think anyone has.
- We are still hungry for more, we have tasted it.
- I will win the Cup during my career.
- Yes, there were tears...
- About 4-5 players would not have played if it was the regular season. We can't blame that I am sure it was the same for Chicago. The Playoffs are a marathon.
- I want to bring back that Cup to Ornskoldsvik as Peter Forsberg and company did.
Playing with fellow Swede Anton Stralman in the Lightning's top defensive pair:
- We clicked directly
- We know each other, and both can play our game and the best way possible.
Hedman's thoughts regarding head coach Jon Cooper:
- I feel that the coach gives me the opportunities to play my game.
- He tells us when we do something wrong, it can even be that we back-checked too hard, and left an opening somewhere else. He is very good and really coaches the details as well.
Regarding Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman:
- Is the leading example, shows us what's needed.
- Has put together a great team and coaching staff
- A good mix of young and hungry players and old guys with routine/experience from the game.
On Steven Stamkos:
- The beating heart of the team or organization even.
- No surprise he was elected captain, there could have been no one else.
- He has developed as a person and leader.
- We had both learned from Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Matthias Ohlund, we didn't have to be as responsible with them on the team.
- "I try to help him as much as I can."
Reaction to winning the Gold Puck - the award Sweden gives to its best hockey player (this year, all Swedish players were eligible. Previously only SHL players):
- "I beat Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who set a new goal scoring record for Swedish defenders. Erik Karlsson wins the Norris, and I am the best Swedish player? It came as a bit of a surprise. "
- "It's funny, Erik and me were at the U-16 National camp in Aland (Finland), and we were eating candy and checking out girls, now we are playing leading roles in NHL..."
On friends at home:
- "I want to take the tab every once in a while but they won't let me. If I do, they'll take it next time. It's great to have friends that treat you like they did before you became a superstar."