SvenskaFans.com’s Andreas Lundskog posted a great profile of Red Wings prospect and Swedish World Junior Championship team defenseman Simon Edvinsson. Here’s a rough translation thereof:
Simon Edvinsson about his journey, his teammates’ help and tough adversity: “It’s a positive that I got a slap in the face”
Last year, he was taken out before leaving for Canada. Now Simon Edvinsson will shoulder the role as one of the Junior Krona’s biggest stars at this year’s World Junior Championship. In a longer interview with our reporter Andreas Lundskog, he talks about his journey to the top, his mentor, Christian Folin, and last year’s severe adversity.
There are only a few days left until the long-awaited premiere at the World Junior Championship. In the city of Red Deer, in Western Canada, the defensive talent Simon Edvinsson is now preparing and preparing for what is to come.
The temperature is guaranteed mosquito-free at -30 on the thermometer in the city where Sweden will play in its group games this upcoming week.
The Swedish team is currently in a “semi-bubble” form at the hotel, and can only move outside the hotel area during practices and games.
“It feels a bit like we only eat, sleep and exercise thus far. There’s not much more to do than have the days go around like this now,” says Edvinsson about his life before the WJC.
The team gets to hang out with each other, and spends time with a lot of video games, such as FIFA and the NHL.
“There will be a lot of video games, I’m probably among the worst, I’m really bad at it,” he says at hte same time as he bursts into a wide smile on the computer screen.
The Swedish team arrived in Canada on December 15th, and has since honed its game details before the championship. The original plan was for the team would have met Canada in an exhibition game on Tuesday, Swedish time.
But due to the pandemic situation in the Province of Alberta, the game was forced to be cancelled. Sweden’s only exhibition game will therefore be the meeting with Austria during the night on Friday, Swedish time.
“Of course it would have been an advantage to have the extra exhibition game. You want to play and put the team together as quickly as possible before. But you have to take it as it comes and it’s the same for everybody. We’re practicing well now, and trying to get used to the little rink. It’s progressing fast, indeed.”
One of the changes for the players has also been getting used to the North American rink size. Something that’s a big difference in terms of play, says Edvinsson.
“I would actually say that it’s a pretty big difference, to be able to get used to it. It’s almost a completely different game actually. Just that you have to be able to own the surface more here, at the same time as the puck is sent back and forth all the time. Then there are a lot of shots into goal where you can’t have a nice set-up in the same way. In the SHL, there’s more surface to work on and play the puck with.”
What else have you focused on mainly during the practices here before the games?
“We’ve gotten into a lot of the practices with both offensive and defensive play. Since then, we’ve focused on some aspects such as faceoffs. We’ve actually gotten most of the game in, I think.”
During practice, Edvinsson has been matched up on the defensive pairing with former Malmo defenseman Helge Grans, who’s now taken the step over to North America and plays games in the AHL. It’s a collaboration that Edvinsson thinks has flowed well so far before the WJC.
“We have good chemistry, I think. He’s right-handed and I’m left-handed, and that’s how I’ve played with [Christian] Folin at home. We have gotten well into the game together, although of course there are some details to work on. But that’s always the case in a new environment and new surroundings.”
The Junior Krona have come to Red Deer with a 25-man team that now hopes to be able to participate and challenge after last year’s quarter-final loss to Finland.
“I think that we are a strong team with many good players in every position. A stable and poised team, I would probably describe it as that. It will be extremely fun to start the tournament here soon and face the other countries.”
How do you consider yourself to be as 18 years old, and already having taken the steps in your careeer?
“I’ve never thought of it that way, I play hockey and think it’s great fun, I want to go out and have fun in every game you play, maybe not so much after the game if you’ve lost. But when you’re on the ice, you enjoy it. Since it’s gone so well, it’s extremely fun. But you want to continue to be able to develop all the time, and I get a lot of good help to be able to do that.”
A major factor in his development was this summer’s pre-season acquisition of defensive partner Christian Folin. The experienced defenseman has grown into something of a mentor for Edvinsson in everyday hockey.
“I would say that he’s helped me a lot with his experience. He’s been involved in almost everything that he can be involved in in terms of my hockey carreer. For me, it’s all about learning from him, information is there, to say the least.”
The future is written in the stars, and is not something that Edvinsson chooses to place any greater focus upon. Instead, it’s important to be able to be here and now before the upcoming World Junior Championship.
How has your dialog with Detroit been this season?
“I talk a lot with Niklas Kronwall about various development details. We haven’t talked so much about what happens next year. Right now I’m in Frolunda, and being able to win a Swedish Championship gold with them is my biggest priority when I’m at home. Everything else, you have to take on after the season.”
Off the ice, Edvinsson is described by many as a “Good old man” who sees opportunities with courage.
How would you describe yourself on this team, do you take a bit of a leading role?
“I just try to be myself, I talk quite a lot, but it’s not like I go and take on a special role. I just go in and be myself both on and off the ice. Many on the team are good at talking and taking leading roles, there is nothing that’s really handed out.”
ON the second day, Sweden’s first challenge awaits at the World Championship, where Russia will be the opposition at Servus Arena. The audience capacity will be season-ticket holders in an arena capacity of approximately 7,000 spectators.
“I expect a lot of good pressure. The WJC is great stuff for the Canadians. It’s going to be exciting and fun to have the opportunity to experience this.”
Now Edvinsson also dreams of being able to salvage a gold medal in his first WJC. Like Sweden did din calgary in 2012 when Mika Zibanejad tricked the Russians into having coffee at the final decision.
“I was quite small then, but I remember that Dad and I sat up and watched it in the middle of the night, I just felt joy inside.”