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Camp Spotlight: Anders Nilsson

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon has made no secret about the fact that he likes what he sees from the goaltenders he has in Mini-Camp.


“I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a camp anywhere like this where you would see the quality of goaltending that we have here now,” Gordon said over the weekend.

Among those goaltenders is Sweden’s Anders Nilsson, who the Islanders selected in the third round (62nd overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Nilsson’s selection has been very popular in his homeland, and Swedish Elite League webmaster Robert Hedlund recently spoke to the young member of the Islanders and shared the interview with newyorkislanders.com


 
Anders, how does it feel to be in an NHL camp?

It feels really good and it’s been a lot of fun. It looks like that I have come to a good team with good goalie coaches and a great potential for growth. It was a positive surprise for me that I was drafted that early as I was—I could never believe I would be taken as early as the third round.

Just a few weeks later, it was time to meet the club and the other prospects at a training camp. Were you nervous before the first meeting?

Not really, I've actually felt pretty calm, both before the camp itself and the first meeting with the others.

What do you hope to gain from training on Long Island?

To get to know players, trainers and coaches, plus all the other people around here. And of course I hope to become better as a goalie, to learn new things and get feedback on what I need to develop and work harder at. Things which I will then take back home with me and work on in Lulea. Also it's been really fun to get a chance to play on the smaller ice-surface, something which I never had tried before.

John Tavares, the overall No. 1 draft pick of 2009 is also at the camp, how's your saving percentage against him so far?

None of his pucks have slipped past me so far, which could be due to the fact that we are not in the same practice groups!

Have you ever been to the USA before?

No, this is the first time I have been in the USA and it feels kind of special to be here really.

What did you think of seeing baseball for the first time? (Nilsson and the other prospects attended the Mets game at Citi Field on Saturday night)

It was really cool to go see baseball. Even if the game itself was quite slow-paced, it was great fun to be there since everything around it was so big with lots of different concession stands and places to buy souvenirs. Then it was also really cool to be at such a big stadium with so many people.

Did you know the rules?

Well, they had to explain the rules to me during the game, so now I know them pretty well. We saw about half the game and the Mets were up 4-0 (which is also how the game ended). The highlight of the evening was definitely the atmosphere around the game.

Finally, how have you handled the time difference?

It has actually gone well. The only thing is that I fall asleep quite early at night, but that could also be due to the fact that we practice hard. I think it will be a lot tougher to adjust the time when I come back home to Sweden again.


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