The man with the golden gun

Jakob Silfverberg has dominated the playoffs in Sweden

28.03.2012
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Sweden's Jakob Silfverberg (right) attempts to score on Norway goalkeeper Lars Volden at the 2011 IIHF World Championship. Photo: Jukka Rautio / HHOF-IIHF Images

GÄVLE, Sweden – Some people just ooze that special something that makes other follow their lead. Whether it’s what they say or how they say it, or whether it’s what they do or how they look doing it still remains a mystery – there are conflicting theories – but they just have it.

While Jakob Silfverberg’s career path seems straightforward, and is straightforward all the way from the district teams to playing in the Brynäs under-18 as a 15-year-old to the junior national teams, and last season, Tre Kronor at the World Championship.

But many players go down that path, and only a few of them truly rise above the rest.

Jakob Silfverberg is one of those people.

Last year, Silfverberg scored 34 points in 53 games, and finished third in team scoring, and 22nd in the league. This season, he finished second in league scoring with 24 goals and 54 points in 49 games, with his point average on par with the leading scorer, Robert Rosén.

He’s also winner of the Golden Helmet award as Elitserien’s MVP, as voted by the players.

“‘Jacke’ played well last year, and while I thought he’d take another step forward this season, he’s take a huge leap,” says Jan-Erik Silfverberg, Jakob’s father, who won four Swedish championships with Brynäs ( 1972, 1976, 1977, 1980) and represented Sweden in the 1977 World Championship in Vienna.

“He’s talented in a way that he loves to practise and train hard and a lot. He also made the right decision to stay in Sweden for another season. It was 99 percent his decision, and I hope it will encourage other young and talented players to play in Elitserien a little longer,” Jan-Erik told the Elitserien website.

Next fall, though, the Ottawa Senators’ second round pick (39th overall) will play in the NHL.

But yes, Silfverberg has taken a huge leap forward. Last season, he was one of the last players to make the World Championship teams. This season, Brynäs’ 21-year-old alternate captain will be one of the first players head coach Pär Mårts will consider to his team.

“Playing in the World Championship was very important, especially to see how professional the NHL players are, and how they prepare for games, and take care of their bodies both before and after each practice and game,” Silfverberg told Swedish Radio recently.

He’s currently the Elitserien playoffs leading scorer with nine points in seven games. His five goals in the six-game quarterfinal series against Frölunda are also league-high, as is his plus-9 rating. He’s also played third most of all forwards in the playoffs, and of the players on the teams still in the hunt, only Skellefteå’s Bud Holloway has taken more shots in the playoffs than Silfverberg’s 29 in seven games.

Jakob Silfverberg, in a word, dominates the Elitserien. No wonder was he the player that most others would like to have on their team, according to a recent player survey.

And about that shot that several Elitserien goalies named the best in the league in another mid-season survey.

“He has great timing, and his shots are accurate. The way modern goalies go down, it’s important to get the puck upstairs and that’s what he’s good at,” says Silfverberg the elder.

“He’s got the best shot in the league,” says Carl Järnkrok, Silfverberg’s linemate, who’s got six points in six playoff games, tied for fourth in the league.

“He’s also got a great hockey sense. He’s pretty much a complete player,” he adds.

The two have created havoc in the league all season long and have been a big contributing factor the Brynäs’s success this season which is far from over as the team faces Färjestad, the defending champion, in the semi-final series
   
According to Järnkrok, the secret to the duo’s success is simple.

“We have fun out there,” the 20-year-old told the Swedish Radio.

Especially when they’re winning.

RISTO PAKARINEN


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