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NHL Heritage Classic

Heritage Classic Diary: Mikael Backlund

Flames center discusses benefits of hard practice, rooming with wife, daughter on road

by Mikael Backlund / Special to NHL.com

Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund will be keeping his own diary throughout the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic. The outdoor game against the Winnipeg Jets will be played at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan, on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN1, CITY, TVAS2, NHL.TV). He will check in regularly this week with behind-the-scenes access.

In his second entry, Backlund discusses a hard practice day at Mosaic Stadium and what it all means for the Flames, as well as the final preparations for the game, including an added wrinkle of being on the road with his wife Frida and daughter Tillie.

REGINA, Saskatchewan -- We got into the hotel this morning and had a meeting and then a meal and then got on the bus to come to the rink. All the players on the team are excited and the families are excited to be here. From our standpoint, we are all excited and ready to go. Hopefully, the city of Regina is excited too.

 

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It was cool to see the stadium and what they have done with it. As soon as I got here, I got changed and went right out there and it was neat to see what they have done. It's a beautiful stadium to start with, and now with NHL-style touches to it, it looks really good out there and I'm so ready for [the game].

Our practice was a good one, it was nice out there weather-wise, a bit warm with a nice breeze. Skating one way was a little tougher than going the other way because the wind was strong.  

We had a hard practice out there, which I think is good. We haven't played our best so far -- last game wasn't our best either, but we found a way to win. The coaches thought we needed a good skate, and I don't mind that. It was a fun night.

Video: Mosaic Stadium ready for 2019 NHL Heritage Classic

We had some different looks to the forward lines today and maybe it was shaking things up a little bit to get the team going and get production from everyone. It's a long season and there are going to be shake-ups all the time and different line combinations. Obviously the goal is to find four lines you can stay with, but it is difficult to do. It's not surprising.

It was fun to skate with my wife a little bit afterward and to see all the families out there having a good time during the family skate after the practice.

As far as the game, I just want to enjoy all of it. It's a special night during the regular season, and I just want to grab onto that and enjoy it and have a big win. That's what it all comes down to in the end, to win the game. It'll be special. Last time I played outdoors I wasn't with my wife, so it will be great to have her here. My 6-month-old daughter will be here too, so it will be great to share this with them. 

As we get ready for the game, it's going to be like the second half of a back to back. I'll do the same routine I usually do those game days because we never skate on the second half of those back to backs. I'll get up and have breakfast and go for a longer walk than usual and then have a meeting. After that it is the regular routine, lunch, have a nap and another walk and then it's game time. It's a little different because I am sharing a room with my wife and daughter, so I will have a little more time with my daughter. We'll see about my nap. I'll adjust to her schedule more than my schedule. 

I expect some pretty cool scenes as we come into the stadium. Last time, in Calgary, coming in on the bus it was awesome with all the people out in the parking lots tailgating and having a good time. In warmups, the people were watching us playing soccer, so it's going to be fun.

I expect it to be a real special night. Both teams are going to play hard, and the crowd should be amazing.

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