ATLANTA -- Once touted as the best player not yet in the NHL, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has quietly emerged on the NHL scene. He first started the year as a winger, but a move to center helped him regain his comfort level and earn a spot alongside Alexander Ovechkin on the Caps' top line.
Q: When you came to the NHL, did you think you'd be here at the All-Star Game?
Backstrom: I didn't know it could happen, but I appreciate being here. It's been fun.
Q: What has the adjustment level been for you this year? It seems like you've handled it well.
Backstrom: We had a tough start, the whole team, this season. I think having Bruce (Boudreau) coming here has helped us win games. The whole team is playing good. We're scoring a lot of goals and that's a good thing for us. We have to score to win games.
Q: For you personally, coming from another country and adjusting to Washington D.C... has it been tough at times?
Backstrom: It was tough in the beginning, but I like it there. It's a good place to play and we've got a really good hockey team, a good gang. It's going better and better, and all the guys are smiling in the locker room right now. I feel more comfortable right now.
Q: Your English is good, so obviously it helps.
Backstrom: It helps to understand something, so your English has to be good. When I first came here, it was terrible.
Q: How have you been learning? A lot of guys that come over from Europe say they watch television to pick up the language. Is there anything specific you've been watching?
Backstrom: In my situation, you just have to pick up words sometimes. I watch a lot of TV. There are the guys (on the team), you pick up some words from them. It helps a lot.
Q: Any specific shows?
Backstrom: I like CSI: Miami. That's my favorite. I don't know if that is a show or not, but I like it.
Q: When you moved from wing back to center, did that help your transition?
Backstrom: I'm a natural centerman. I like to have the puck down in the defensive zone. I like to have the puck in the neutral zone and give it to other players. I feel more comfortable at center and I think my game is going better and better.
Q: And it must be nice to have Alex (Ovechkin) to dish it off to.
Backstrom: For sure. He's a really good goal scorer. If you pass to him, it's a goal, maybe...
Q: How about having Michael Nylander around? It must have been a real help to have him in Washington.
Backstrom: Yeah. He's from Sweden too. I can ask him something off ice. He does really good dinners, too, so...
Q: What's his best dish?
Backstrom: He makes some really good fish, actually.