STOCKHOLM – Oscar Lindberg’s inaugural World Championship so far is a good one. Not only is it in his home country but Sweden has made it into the semi-finals with a chance on Saturday to make it to the finals for the first time since 2011.
Lindberg is another in a long line of players who are making their first World Championship appearance and with youth on their side, certainly not the last.
“It was tough to start because there’s so much competition and depth on these teams at this level but it is getting better and good to be here,” said Lindberg of his experience to date. “It is fun and I’m learning a lot.”
Lindberg has scored a goal and two points in eight games while averaging over 13 minutes per game. He assisted on Martin Thörnberg’s game winning goal against Denmark in the last game of the Preliminary Round on Tuesday.
Sweden has received important scoring from the Sedin brothers who have combined for two goals and seven points since arriving earlier in the week.
It is particularly important for production to come from other lines. With Thörnberg’s pair of goals in Sweden’s final game of the Preliminary Round and from Nicklas Danielsson and Loui Eriksson yesterday against Canada, Sweden has more options now moving forward.
“We know they are going to score but we need the whole team to get going and get other people scoring,” he said. “Getting big goals at key times are important.”
2012-13 was something of a magical season for Lindberg and Skellefteå AIK. Thanks in large part to his play, the team won the Swedish Elitserien. It was Skellefteå AIK's first playoff championship since 1978.
Lindberg scored 17 regular season goals and 42 points. In the playoffs he added 4 goals and 1 points in 13 games.
Lindberg’s performance in the post-season earned him honors with the Stefan Liv Memorial Trophy as most valuable player in the Elitserien playoffs.
“The whole season was great both personally and professionally,” Lindberg commented on 2012-13. “We had a great playoff and won the championship so it was a great experience overall.”
In the fall, Lindberg will take his next step and move to North America. The New York Rangers have his rights gained through a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Whether he makes the big club or sent to the team’s AHL affiliate Connecticut Whale, Lindberg will have a new hockey experience over 2013/2014.
“I am going to training camp in September and we’ll see if it’s the NHL or AHL,” said Lindberg. “Either way I am staying in North America. It will be a different experience but one I’m looking forward to.”
With the semi-finals set for tomorrow and a possible win taking Sweden into a gold medal game, Lindberg remains focused on the tournament.
“This season is not over and I’ll be thinking about the next game and the one after that. So much more to do.”