Capitals' Backstrom named to Swedish Olympic team

December 28, 2009|By Sports Digest

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will represent Sweden at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. Swedish coach Bengt Gustafsson - a former Capital - on Sunday announced his team's 23-man roster that will try to defend Sweden's gold medal from the 2006 Olympics. Backstrom, 22, will be making his first Olympic appearance. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound native of Gavle, Sweden, ranks sixth in the NHL (second among Swedish-born players) with 45 points (15 goals, 30 assists) in 39 games. He leads the Capitals in assists and ranks second in goals and points. Backstrom recorded the 200th point of his three-year NHL career and added two more in the Capitals' 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night. With 202 points in 202 games, he is one of 10 active NHL players averaging a point per game in his career (minimum 100 games played). The youngest player on the Swedish roster, Backstrom has represented his country in five major international events: three world championships and two world junior championships. Backstrom will join at least three teammates in Vancouver, as Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Semyon Varlamov were named to the Russian team Thursday.

Semin: The forward agreed to a one-year contract extension with Washington on Saturday. The team didn't disclose terms of the deal that will allow Semin, 25, to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2010-11 season. Semin, in his fifth-year in the NHL, had an assist Saturday night against New Jersey and has 32 points in 29 games. He has 248 career points (122 goals, 126 assists). "I am extremely happy to sign here," Semin said through an interpreter after Saturday's game. "I like this team. I really like everything here."

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