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Kronwall says playing in Sweden will be 'surreal'

Monday, 09.21.2009 / 4:30 PM ET / News
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer
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Kronwall says playing in Sweden will be \'surreal\'
Niklas Kronwall searched for the right word to describe what the NHL Premiere means to him. After a moment's pause, he came up with "surreal."

"I think that's a pretty good word to describe it," the Detroit defenseman told NHL.com.

For Kronwall, surreal is playing two NHL games -- Oct. 2 and 3 against the St. Louis Blues -- in his home city of Stockholm.

Surreal to play those games in the Ericsson Globe, an arena he called home for four seasons while playing with Djurgardens in the Swedish Elite League.

Surreal to play those games in that arena in front of family and friends who still haven't seen him play an NHL game in person.

"Just to be able to come home to Sweden and play in the same building that you used to play in and you'll have your family and most of your friends there," Kronwall said with obvious excitement attached to each syllable. "It's going to be an awesome feeling -- and something I never imagined would have ever happened."
Just to be able to come home to Sweden and play in the same building that you used to play in and you'll have your family and most of your friends there. It's going to be an awesome feeling -- and something I never imagined would have ever happened. - Niklas Kronwall

Kronwall, one of six Swedes who will accompany the Red Wings to Stockholm, was jealous of the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins a year ago because they got to open the 2008-09 regular-season with a pair of games at the Globe.

"No question about that," he said. "When they announced a couple of teams were going over most of us Swedes were hoping we were one that got to go. It didn't happen the first time around, but the second time around we got the chance. It's a big thrill for all of us."

For Kronwall, it will feel like a pair of home games. He has played in the Globe more than 100 times and spends the summer working out and skating in the rink right next door. He knows all the nooks and crannies of the building.

"I have walked through those doors and in that arena for many years," Kronwall said. "I feel pretty comfortable there."

He said he has put in for 120 tickets for the two games. For games at Joe Louis Arena, Kronwall said he usually doesn't have to ask for any more than the two each Red Wings player is allotted. Sometimes those don't even get used.

"These last few weeks, it's been more and more text messages and phone calls from family and old friends who would like to see the game and are asking about tickets," Kronwall said. "It will be different for sure."

As much as this is a dream come true for Kronwall, it's also a business trip. It may feel weird for him to spend five nights in a Stockholm hotel when his house is just a short drive away, but that's just a reminder that he's going home to work, not play.

"There's not going to be that much time," Kronwall said. "There's going to be a lot going on."






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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
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10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80