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03-29-2013, 11:29 AM
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Part 2:
Klefbom about his future in Edmonton

He is meant to become a main piece of Edmonton's future defense. After a tough season which got spoiled by a shoulder injury Oscar Klefbom is beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was different last fall when it became clear that the injury was season ending.
- I didnít watch a hockey game in months. I just wanted to get away from it and think about other things.

Klefbom got injured in November last year. After emerging as one of the SELís best defensemen during the early stages of the 12/13 season Klefbom fell unfortunately in to the boards in a game against Vaxjo. Initial reports spoke about a minor shoulder injury but pretty soon it was evident that this was more serious.

When reached Klefbom for a talk he explained why the reports were positive the days following the incident.
- The very next day I could move my shoulder around without feeling any pain in ways that shouldnít be possible when you have a dislocated shoulder. For this reason the physiotherapists thought that it wasnít so bad and that would be able to be back on the ice after 1-2 weeks of rehab training. I thought that I would be able to play the very same week.
- When there was no improvement the physiotherapists sent me to a specialist. Initially he figured that I would need 7 weeks of rehab, but after X-ray it was clear that the shoulder was completely torn. It was dislocated, several ligaments damaged and most of it was messed up. At that point my season was essentially over. In retrospect the teamís physiotherapists said that they had never seen anyone being able to move the way I could with a dislocated shoulder the day after the injury.

When Klefbom was informed that his season was over it felt like he got punched in the stomach, especially since he had been having such a great start of the season. Klefbom was supposed to Captain the national junior team in the WJC, he emerged as a key player on FBKís blue line and was already being seen by many as a player for the national team in the WC 2013
- It was really tough considering how I had played so far. I felt fantastic during the European Trophy games as well as in the SEL and I felt that this could really be a big season for me.

Klefbom will not play in the SEL playoffs
After getting the word the his season was over Klefbom avoided anything related to hockey for several months. He just could stand following the game but not being able to partciapate.
- In the beginning it was really tough. I didnít want to see any hockey, I just wanted to focus on other things. I didnít follow FBK, Edmonton or anything else hockey related for several months.
- As things moved along I started to feel drawn back to hockey again and I just had to accept that I could participate on the ice. Thatís when I started to seriously follow FBK and the Oilers again and since then itís been a lot of hockey for me.

Q: Does it feel extra tough to have to stand on the side during the playoffs?
- Yes, very much. I really want to be part of the team and helping them by doing my part in the playoffs. Itís obviously worse not being able to play at this time of the year, especially when the team has been playing so good.

A couple of weeks ago there were reports out saying that Klefbom might be able to come back and play in the finals (if his FBK would make it there). At that moment it was actually a real possibility, but not anymore.
- Itís been a bit back and forth. The way I feel right now I think I could play although it would be risking another injury but Edmonton has said no. Furthermore, FBK said the same as Edmonton, basically that even if I would have been 100% their player they still would not have let me play.

Q: How does the should feel right now?
- It feels better than expected. I have about two months left of rehab. I have no pain anymore but I am still behind and I need to catch up in rebuilding the muscle tissue. Mobility feels fine and I have already started training somewhat on ice.
- Iíve played a couple times with the team but also with the FBKís board but thatís ĒgubbhockeyĒ (gubbe = old man). When playing with the old guys it has been just to get the feel back for puck.

Despite the long rehabilitation Klefbom still considers this to have been an important period of time for his future career. He indicates that he has gotten the chance build up his body in such a way that it will benefit him in his quest to earn a roster spot on the Oilers next season.
- In perspective I still consider this to have been a really good build-up for next season. I got the opportunity to build up physically and also get rid of a couple of small issues that had been bothering me somewhat before. Now I feel that I am good to go and I am really looking forward to the next couple of years.

Q: How much influence has Edmonton had in terms of your rehabilitation training?
- They have been very much involved. They have probably talked with FBK at least five times a week to be sure that I get the proper treatment and that I am following the training program. They have really been keen on being involved to make sure that the healing process is going well.

Next up for Klefbom is a trip to Edmonton on April 7 and will remain in Canada a couple of weeks. The length of his stay will depend on whether Oilers manage to make the playoffs or not. If they manage to make the playoffs they want to be able to use Klefbom.
- I will stay for at least two and a half weeks and watch six home games. The idea is to practice with the team and then we will see if Edmonton makes the playoffs or not. If they do it is possible that they want me to play.
- I donít think that I am ready for the NHL right now, but at the same time I have another month to get ready before this could become a real possibility. I will do both gym training and on ice training with the team and then we will just have to see, week to week, what my status will be if the team manages to make the playoffs.

Klefbom is not worried that this shoulder injury will be a problem going forward. Instead he feels that this long period of rehabilitation will benefit him as a player in the future.
- I am not at all worried that this injury will affect me in any way in the future, rather the opposite. The injured shoulder is more stable now than it was before the injury and I canít see that I will have future problems because of this. The doctors have said that everything is healing fine and that there will be no long lasting issues following this injury.

At this moment it doesnít seem that Edmonton will be able to make the playoffs this year. It seems as if the debut of Klefbom will have to wait until next season. On an Edmonton which is currently a bit weak on the blue line it is probable that he will be able to earn a roster spot right away, especially seeing the confidence that the management in Edmonton has shown to have in him.
- They have indicated that they really want to give me an opportunity. They have had some troubles defensively this year and they have told me that they will give me the chance to earn a spot right away. Weíll see if it will be in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd pairing.

Klefbom has already been in contact with Krueger several times. They had dinner last time Klefbom was over in Edmonton last summer and they have also been in contact on several other occasions. Through Krueger Klefbom has also learned that the idea is to play him with Justin Schultz on the teamís 1st pair.
- I have had a lot of contact with the coach. He wanted me to come over for this season but also understood that I needed one more year of development in FBK. He also gave me some hints of what I need to improve.
- His, and the organizationís, idea is to have me paired with Justin Schultz at some point in time. He also wanted me to observe a player like Nick Schultz as to learn how to act on the ice. Nick is an agile, physical and defensively strong defenseman who has been very good for several years. He has also played together with Schultz this season.

Q: How much have you been able to follow Edmonton this year?

- Apart from the months were I turned off hockey completely I have been trying to see as much as possible. Itís an amazingly skilled and up-and-coming team. I have also been over a couple of times and Iíve been able to see how skilled many of these players are up close.

Q: How does it feel belonging to an organization that is seen to have such a bright future?
- It feels really fantastic. This team has a such a huge potential and I think they will be one of the top teams in the NHL in 2-3 years. You have such an amazing level of skill on this team and most of the players are just in the beginning of their careers. When everyone continues to develop the sky is the limit for the team.

Through the years there have been players saying no to Edmonton since they didnít want to live there. The oil city has been criticized for its hard climate and that there is nothing to do. Despite this Klefbom has a very good impression of Edmonton.
- Many people say that itís a bad town to live in, but I donít share that opinion. Itís really a perfect city for a rookie as me and the hockey interest over there is huge. Everyone talks about hockey all the time and people are really interested in the game (edit: Swedish wording: ďburn for the gameĒ, ďreally interestedĒ is a bit weak but I could think of another word). They also have one of the world biggest Mallís where I have been a few times so there are definitely things to do over there.

Until Klefbom leaves for NA he will remain to support his team mates in their hunt for a place in the finals. Something he believes that they will do.
- I think our chances are really good. Lulea is a really good team with good goal keepers but it seems as if we have the upper hand on them right now. They have struggled with us and even if the series will be tight and probably going to six or seven games I think we will go through as the winning team.

Q: Is there any particular player who you think might tip the scale in favor for FBK?
- Alexander Salak, definitely. He will be the key to success and heís been playing great all season long. Since this will probably be a low-scoring affair heíll need to be playing at the top of his game and I think he will bring us to the finals.

Q: Chris Lee is another name that everyone has been talking about so far in the playoffs, what do you think about him?
- He has been amazing this season. When he came here I had never heard about him before, I only knew that he had been a good producer down in the German league. But he is one of the best skaters I have ever seen and he is really good physically.
- I had the opportunity to play with him one game before I got injured and he is very easy to play with, always in the right place and really good vision. Lulea will probably try to erase him by putting a lot of people on him but we have other great blue liners who can step up if that happens.

If FBK manages to make the finals Klefbom will not be there to follow them. Instead he will have begun the next step in his career in the NHL and thereís nothing that indicates that it will not be a successful one for the talent.

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