The Washington Post

Sweden’s Backstrom gets trash-talked… by his granny!

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (19) fires a slap shot during first period action against the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 7, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

It isn’t unusual for there to be some mild trash talk between rival Olympians. Just a few days ago, Russian star Alex Ovechkin and Swedish star Nicklas Backstrom — teammates with the Washington Capitals — engaged in a playful back-and-forth, with Ovechkin noting that Backstrom would be wise not to “keep his head down too much” if they go head-to-head.

It must be a little disconcerting, however, when the trash talk — and not of the playful kind — comes from your own family. But that is what happened when Swedish publication Aftonbladet spoke with Backstrom’s 84-year-old grandmother, Britt. (Yahoo! Sports was the first English-speaking outlet to report the comments.)

“He will make a fool of himself,” Grandma Britt said, according to a Google translation of the Aftonbladet story. “He has played so poorly. For a long time.” A faithful follower of the Capitals from her home in Sweden, she said she watches most games. But, she added, “when it’s bad I go to bed.”

In Sochi, Swedish reporters managed to find Backstrom to confront him with Grandma Britt’s comments, but he politely declined: “I stay away from those,” he said. “I will not comment on that. Sorry.”

Sweden opened play in the Olympic hockey tournament Wednesday night with a 4-2 victory over the Czech Republic, with Backstrom recording one assist.

Dave Sheinin has been covering baseball and writing features and enterprise stories for The Washington Post since 1999.
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