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Behind Enemy Lines: Filip Forsberg on Jacob de la Rose

The Predators forward dishes on his longtime friend

by Hugo Fontaine @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

Despite engaging in some heated battles on the ice, opposing NHL players often forge enduring friendships away from the rink. We thought it might be interesting, then, to do some reconnaissance in the visitors' dressing room to get an occasional take on a Canadiens player from a friendly foe on another club. This month: Predators forward Filip Forsberg on his longtime friend, Jacob de la Rose.

You and Jacob have been teammates in Leksand and on the Swedish National Team. How far back do you guys go?
FILIP FORSBERG: I probably first met him when I was around 14; that's the first time we played against each other. The first time we actually spoke was when we tried out for the national team when I was 15 and he was a year younger. From that moment we became best friends.
What was your first impression of Jacob?
FF: Since he was a year younger, I was amazed at how big and talented on the ice he was for his age. But we connected off the ice right away, as well.  
Do you still keep in touch often during the season? Do you see each other often during the summer?
FF: Every time we play against each other we go for dinner together. During the season we talk at least once a week. In the summertime we spend a lot of time together. He spends a good month with me in Leksand to train for the season.
In Leksand, he was the playmaker and you were the finisher. How easy was it to play on the same line as Jacob?
FF: It was great. We played for a long time together, and what stands out is that he's such a hard worker. He's a big guy who can play physical, and it allowed me to have a lot of room to play with the puck.
We've heard that when you guys were teammates back home, you would have intense battles playing FIFA against each other. Who won most of those video game faceoffs?
FF: (laughs) We still go at it in the summer. Usually he's better than me, but a few years ago, we did a best-of-7 series and he was winning 3-0, but I came back and won 4-3. He was so upset that I won the championship. He's such a bad loser, but so am I, so it can get pretty intense.
A lot of his teammates here have said that if he wasn't a hockey player, he could have been in a boy band like One Direction because the ladies seem to love him. Thoughts on his heartthrob potential?
FF: I agree. He has the long blond hair - such good flow. He could be in a band right away just because of his looks. (laughs)
Have you ever heard him sing? How would he do on stage?
FF: Oh, I have. I've heard him sing in the car and he's definitely not good enough to be in a band on the basis of his voice. (laughs)
Given that you've been living in Nashville for a few years now, give us your opinion on something: could he pull off a cowboy hat?
FF: I don't know a lot of people who can, actually. Obviously a lot of people try those hats when they're in Nashville, but I can't see him pulling it off. Same thing for me!
Who has better moves on the dance floor? Can either of you two-step? 
FF: Same thing as the cowboy hat. (laughs)
Europeans are known for their fashion sense. Between you and Jacob, who has better style?
FF: He's got good style, but he's not at my level yet. He's working on it, though.
What's one thing you could tell us about Jacob few people would know?
FF: Probably that he has a pretty hot temper. I don't know if you guys know that over here, but I've definitely seen it a few times. (laughs)
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