"I heard rumors and read in the Finnish papers that maybe the Wild could go next. That's when you think about it and how cool it could be to go there, but there are a lot of things that need to go your way to be able to go over there."
-- Niklas Backstrom
"The hospital here in Landstuhl, it is the first stop they make when they fly them out of Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever the conflict may be. This is the closest hospital to the combat area that is outside of the combat hospital on-site."
-- Michael Lewis, director of USO Germany
"This will be his claim to fame, being here in his mom's hometown. He's been excited and I've seen it in his face. So I told him he would enjoy it watching the game from the stands on Saturday. He lost his smile for a few seconds until he realized I was joking around."
-- Bruins coach Claude Julien
"Playing in Europe, even now but especially in those days, when those teams were so strong, it was really hard, very difficult competition. That's something I'll remember my whole life."
-- Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford, on playing against Russia in the 1979 World Championships
"I hope so," Pahlsson said. "I don't know who they're going to cheer on but I hope at least my family and my friends are going to cheer for us."
Pahlsson is just like any other Swede who has received the chance to play in Stockholm the last few years. He has to rein in the excitement of getting to play in front of friends and family who otherwise don't get to see him play in the NHL. With most NHL games starting between 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. in the United States, the time difference makes it hard for Pahlsson's fellow Swedes to watch him play in North America.
"It's a big honor for me to get a chance to play in my home country," Pahlsson said. "I played my whole NHL career in North America far away from friends and family at bad times, usually in the middle of the night back in Sweden. So it's fun for me to get a chance to play when everyone can watch.
"I'm getting tickets, but I don't think I'll have time to hang out with anyone. Maybe I can at least say hi to all those people."
The strange hours at which games were broadcast in Sweden also made the dream of playing in the NHL seem like a distant one. But in a way, it makes returning home to play in the NHL that much more special for Pahlsson, who wanted nothing more than to play for his national team as a child.
"It was Sweden and the national team and the world championships," Pahlsson said. "That's what I could watch on TV. I never had a chance to watch the NHL. It's changed a little bit now, people can watch it, but it's at a bad time. It's at the middle of the night."
Take a look inside Nationals Park, home of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. WATCH NOW ›