HF: Sweden defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 yesterday, what are your impressions of that game?
Bäcker: We had most of the play but once again our biggest problem this tournament turned up again: scoring. That almost got us in trouble.
HF: How about the performance of team Sweden at the WJC so far?
Bäcker: We are still undefeated so……
HF: In the quarter finals you will meet Canada, who are favourites for gold.
Bäcker: Canada will be a very hard and tough game for us, but so would probably have been all of the other opponents we could have drawn. We will give our best and see what comes from it.
HF: What about your own performance so far at this WJC?
Bäcker: I’m playing an ok tournament so far. I’m satisfied with my own performance.
HF: What are your strengths and weaknesses in your game?
Bäcker: My strengths are my puckhandling and the ability to stay calm on the ice when needed. A thing I need to improve though is my shooting.
HF: You play for Färjestad, currently by far the best team in the Swedish league. What’s it like to be part of that team?
Bäcker: It’s great. Really fantastic. It’s a great club and I’m proud to be part of them at the moment.
HF: Jörgen Jönsson and Mathias Johansson have been selected in the Olympic squad for Sweden. Both are teammates of yours. What do you have to say about it?
Bäcker: That is really great for them and for the club as well of course. Both players are very good players. Johansson and Jönsson are great forward which are good in their areas of the game Jönsson even skated in the NHL already.
HF: Last season you played for Bofors who you were loaned to by Färjestad. Do you think it is good that Färjestad loans out their talents?
Bäcker: Yes. I think it’s better for a player to play at the senior level than stick at the junior level. In the juniors there’s less organization during the play and everyone wants to be where the puck is. Also physically it’s a big difference.
HF: In the 99-00 season with Grums you had a +/- rating of -14. The following season with Bofors, in the same league, you ended up with a +15 rating despite scoring less points. What’s the main reason of the big +/- difference?
Bäcker: With Grums, we were always down in the standings and with Bofors that wasn’t the case. That is the only reason I can give you for it.
HF: How would you compare the Swedish Elitserien to this WJC?
Bäcker: The Elitserien is better then the level at this WJC I feel.
HF: And how would you compare Färjestad to this Swedish team at the WJC?
Bäcker: Hard to compare. Maybe Färjestad is a bit better in things like passing, but again, hard to compare.
HF: What about your future?
Bäcker: Right now I’m more then happy at Färjestad, but of course it is a dream to skate in the NHL one day. I talk about the game overthere quite a lot with Jörgen Jönsson and he’s been very helpful so far.
HF: Unlike many eastern-European players, most Scandinavian players don’t opt to play in the North-American junior leagues. Any idea why that is?
Bäcker: Not sure, but maybe it is because the conditions of life are better here then in Eastern Europe so the need to move so early isn’t that urgent. Money could be a factor as well.
HF: When did you start playing hockey?
Bäcker: I started skating when I was 2,5 and started playing hockey when I was 5 or 6. My father got me into the game of hockey.
HF: What is your favourite NHL and European team?
Bäcker: In the NHL it’d be Detroit Red Wings or Colorado Avalanche, in Europe Färjestad. Always has been my favourite team. The team plays only 20 minutes from where I was born.
HF: Do you have a special number you prefer to wear?
Bäcker: 82, because that’s the year I was born
HF: Are you supersticious?
Bäcker: No i am not supersticious at all
HF: What are your hobbies?
Bäcker: I like to play golf, tennis and do fishing. Also I’d like to visit my friends or play some hockey with my brother. He’s from 1986 and very talented and plays for Grums.
HF: Thank you Pär for this interview. It was a pleasure talking to you and good luck in the rest of the tournament.
Bäcker: No problem at all. I enjoyed it. Thank you.