Thread: B-Sens 2012-2013 Season Thread
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11-19-2012, 03:48 PM
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The Swedish tabloid Expressen did a big interview with Jakob Silfverberg in Binghampton and it was published in today's paper,

I did a rough and ready translation. Sorry for the sometimes awkward wording and grammar. Swedish journalism has a different setup to English/American. I did not translate the part where he talks about Brynas current problems.

"In the beginning I wondered what I was doing here"

Jakob Silfverberg is, of course, too good to play in the AHL. You would think that he would prefer being at home in Brynas. “In the beginning I did wonder what I was doing here and I was homesick. But now I don’t think about either the NHL or Brynas. And the coach has told me I’m learning new things every day,” Jakob tells us. He has even learned how to fight.

That knowing how to fight is useful in the AHL is something I realize as soon as I come to this rundown city which God forgot. Binghampton Senators are meeting Airondacks Phantoms and during the second period there is sudden chaos. All the players on the ice throw their gloves and start fighting. Beside me in the media section is a woman who screams, “Yeah, baby!”

I, and Jakob Silferberg, who is sitting on the bench at that moment both probably think the same thing as all hell breaks loose, “What will Clara think?” Clara Welin Brook is Jakob’s girlfriend who has just moved to the United States and is watching her first AHL game. The fighting results in six game misconducts, among them the Swedish goon, Fredrik Claesson, who had no choice but to fight. To be prepared for the fighting, Jakob is learning how to fight during practice. The best fighter on the team has taught him some tricks. “We’ve been play fighting during practice,” he says. “Mostly it’s a matter of locking your opponent’s arms so he can’t hit you. I can’t fight like many others here, I’ll lose and get beaten up.“ He has experienced games that have gone totally haywire but adds that, “mostly it’s the same players who do the fighting. So I should be okay if I don’t skate over someone or play dirty. But some games are a bit crazy.”

In front of him on the restaurant table is the Golden Puck . There was no time to have it engraved before he left Sweden. No one recognizes him in Binghampton which is a huge difference from Gavle. “It’s both a negative and a positive,” he says. Of course it’s always fun being appreciated and when people come up to you and talk and are positive. But it’s also nice being anonymous.”

Our waitress doesn’t realize that Jakob is a hockey player until she sees the Golden Puck. “Wow, if you got that, you’ve gotta be pretty good,” she says.

And yes, Jakob Silfverberg is good enough that the assistant coach, Kjell Samuelsson, despite tonight’s loss and Jakob not playing a big part in the game, says, “Silfverberg is an NHL player, you can see that immediately. He has what it takes.”

So of course I have to ask if Jakob is very disappointed to be playing in the AHL instead of in the NHL.

“I haven’t really thought about it, and that’s the truth. Of course I’m a bit disappointed that I haven’t even gotten the chance to compete for a place in the NHL like I wanted to. But I’m here now and that’s all I’m focusing on. I cannot think about anything else. If there are any NHL games this season, that’s a bonus.” He seems sincere when he says that, and then continues, “Of course I had hoped to play in the NHL but now I’m just focusing on helping Binghampton.”

But the AHL is the league no one wants to play in?

“I’ve heard many horror stories about how no one passes you the puck in this league and that everyone wants to leave it, but that has not been my experience at all,” he says. “I don’t know if I’m blind but we have a great bunch here and we have a lot of fun together.”

The NHL lockout means that there are many young stars here and the quality of the AHL is much better than most people realize.

Have you become a better hockey player?

“Yes I have. I didn’t think the game would be so different. It’s a lot faster than at home so I have to know when to make the simple play. When I should tackle(translator note, I think that’s what he means), when I should make a cross pass, when I should shoot the puck and when I should dump it. But I’m getting better and better.”

Now during the lockout, wouldn’t it have been better to have played at home with Brynas?

“I don’t even think about that. I wanted to try something new and I know that this time (in the AHL) will help me immensely. And you have to cut the umbilical at some point. You can’t stay where you are safe, you have to try new things.”

Binghampton beats Airondack 4-2 and the JWC hero, Mika Zibanejad, one of five Swedish players, is elected first star of the game. The coach, Luke Richardson, a veteran of 20 NHL seasons is pleased.

Silfverberg has a bit of a bad conscience. “I’m a player who’s supposed to produce a lot of points. But I have to stop thinking about it all the time, and at least, things have improved lately.”

However, he’s proud of the Golden Puck, “It was nice getting it, and it’s going to look good at home. We’ve just bought a couple of paintings but needed some other decorations. So the Golden Puck will find a good home.”

Jakob about:

Stats crazy North America. “I should have produced a lot more points, I know that. But I haven’t heard much about it. Our power play needs a lot of improvement. At one point it was slightly over 7%. In Brynas it was 30%. When we beat Vaxjo all the goals were scored on the power play. Of course it’s really frustrating when we’re not better than that. It’s just something that has to work.”

What he misses from home. “Nothing really, well maybe the lunch buffet at Lakerol Arena (laughs). Here they eat sandwiches for lunch! And of course I miss friends and relatives but I talk to them on the phone and on Skype every day.”

His Swedish team mates. “I’m really impressed with Robin Lehner. I knew he was a good goalie but not that he was this good. He’s been standing on his head and saved us during several games. Mika Zibanejad is really good, and André Pettersson is very skillful and his shot is a real missile. Frederik Claesson isn’t very big but he’s really tough to face on the ice.

Swedes he’s met in the AHL. “Hampus Lindholm scored a goal against us. Then I faced Ulf Samuelsson’s son, Philip and I didn’t think about the fact that he’s Swedish and when things got a bit rough in front of the goal and he told me to calm down in Swedish I was really surprised.”

His new home. “We live in a nice apartment in a good area twenty minutes from downtown. We have a mall and a cinema close by and we like it there. It’s good enough for us.”

The dream of a Stanley Cup. “Hah! That feels a long way away at the moment. But once you’ve won, you want to win again. But first the lockout must end and then I must fight for a place on the team, and then we’ll see…

Binghampton against Brynas. “Oh! That’s a hard one. It’s a different game here and although Sweden won the JWC on NHL ice I think we’d beat Brynas here at home. I think we’d have more of a problem in Gavle.”

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