Rakapuckar’s Henrik Leman spoke with Elmer Soderblom and Lucas Raymond after today’s Frolunda Indians practice, asking both players about their World Junior Championship experiences, as well as whether their WJC performances should impact their roles with Frolunda. What follows is roughly translated from Swedish:
The WJC guys practiced already on Tuesday, when Frolunda had closed the media off for coronavirus.
On Wednesday, it was almost a bit of business as usual.
“It’s nice to come back immeidately and be up and running quickly, be with the old men again. Regardless of whether we won or came last (in the WJC), it’s important to forget it and get back in the environment here, to continue to take steps individually and as a team,” said Lucas Raymond, who added this before his comeback game vs. Lulea:
“It’s [going to be] great fun, fun game to come home to as well.”
Elmer Soderblom agreed:
“It feels good to be home. Still a bit jet-lagged, waking up hungry and so on, but at the same time it’s nice to get into it right away.”
The strong Soderblom presented himself to the Swedish people with his goals away in Edmonton, where the WJC was a cheeky journey to the bitter end against Finland.
Are you aware of the [team’s] resurrection here at home?
“Yes…I’ve heard a lot from family and friends and so on. Of course it was fun, of course it was a small boost that you have to take in the right way, get energy from, and try to develop even more.”
For Lucas Raymond, it loosened up in earnest in the quarterfinal against Finland (nicely scoring the 1-0 goal)–then it was over. But he still feels it from the tournament.
“The body took a lot of beatings,” he admitted.
A puck over the mouth, two heavy slashes on the back, one after falling head-first into the boards, the other after a naughty Finnish cross-checking.
“Nothing that inhibits me. I got good help from Stina (Hedin, rehabilitation) and Martin (Soderblom, team doctor).”
Lucas Raymond gets back onto his line with Jan Mursak, which was somewhat surprising for several of us. But the excitement here: the third link in the line will be center Kalle Henriksson, the radar partner from his junior season, both in Frolunda and the national team.
Then with Henriksson as a center, now as a winger.
“We knew each other well, in principle we played together every game,” Raymond said when he dug into his memory from his junior hockey-playing years.
First time together at the senior level now. “Good chemistry, good talk,” Raymond said, but at the same time, he toned it down. Not that this isn’t something he’s been dreaming about:
“I haven’t thought about it at all. That’s what’s so nice about our team, no matter who you play with, it’s really good players.”
Coach Roger Ronnberg said this about putting the teenagers together with numbers 18 and 21:
“It’s a little fun, something I wanted to try sometime during the season. They really thrive together, think about hockey the same way. Great opportunity to test it now.”
Raymond and Mursak are thus together again five-on-five, but are separated on the power play. This is what the power play formations look like vs. Lulea:
Jens Olsson, Simon Hjalmarsson, Jan Mursak, Joel Lundqvist and Max Freiberg;
Jesper Sellgren, Patrik Carlsson, Lucas Raymond, Robin Alvarez, Nicklas Lasu.
Apparently no place for Elmer Soderblom, the giant with the artful power play goals at the WJC.
“I don’t expect such a thing,” he said, cautiously.
For Soderblom, unlike Raymond, it’s more about taking advantage of every chance he gets, showing that he deserves a spot on the team.
He is probably going to be the extra [13th] forward against Lulea.
“Tough competition, many skilled forwards. It’s just about doing your best in practice, and taking it from there.”
Roger Ronnberg had an interesting explanation about this regarding the fact that Elmer Soderblom does not–at least not yet–fit into Frolunda’s power play:
“The idea is there, but the timing needs to be right. I might be too cowardly to do that right away, just going on what I saw at the WJC. I’m so dumb that I had Max Friberg out of the power play for five years, he was the goal king at his WJC and scored several goals on the power play. I will certainly continue to be an idiot with Elmer.”
Maybe five years was to take in, that Max Friberg is playing in his fourth season with Frolunda now–but it’s an interesting quote, don’t you think?
At the moment, Friberg is playing on the power play. Does he do it even when Johan Sundstrom is healthy and playable next week? It will be exciting to see.