It was during the Stanley Cup Final two years ago when, while talking to Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall
, the topic of the NHL going to Sweden to play regular-season games in Stockholm's Globe Arena came up in our conversation.
Kronwall, who is from Stockholm, still owns a home and spends his summers there. He told NHL.com he was jealous of the Ottawa Senators
and Pittsburgh Penguins
because he was hoping his team would get a chance to play in what is now called the Ericsson Globe as part of the NHL Premiere.
The Senators and Penguins opened the 2008-09 season in Stockholm, while the New York Rangers
and Tampa Bay Lightning
played in Prague.
"I wish we were one of those teams going to Stockholm because that would be awesome to be playing in Globe Arena," Kronwall said at the time. "Being a hockey player growing up there, I would have loved to go see that game."
The NHL has granted Kronwall his wish.
The League is returning to Stockholm for the second straight year -- and this time Kronwall and his teammates are making the trip. The Ericsson Globe, an arena Kronwall called home for four seasons while he played for Djurgardens in the Swedish Elite League, will host the Wings and St. Louis Blues
for two games as part of the Compuware NHL Premiere Oct. 2-3.
Naturally, when we thought about the person that we wanted as our tour guide for this sojourn to Stockholm, we thought about that conversation we had with Kronwall in the Red Wings' locker room two years ago and pegged him as the perfect candidate.
Since Stockholm is your city, give us some interesting details about it?
First of all, it's right on the water. It's basically built on a few different islands that are all surrounded by water. I think it's beautiful and a great way to experience it is to go on one of those sightseeing boats so you can see it from the water. It's a neat feeling and you get a different view of Stockholm.
What are some of the attractions we should hit?
I think a lot of people like to see the castle in the old town, that whole old town area is pretty neat with the small, narrow streets and the castle there. Drottninghalm Castle is where the royal family lives. That's a 50-minute drive from downtown Stockholm, but when the weather is nice it's a good spot. There is a beautiful park; it's right on the water.
Can you be our weatherman for a moment?
I think it's going to be maybe high 50s or low 60s (Fahrenheit). It could also be a lot colder than that. It's really hit or miss, rain or sun.
What should we sample from the local cuisine?
I will say the steaks in the U.S. and Canada are a lot better than the ones in Stockholm. The filets over here, you can't beat those. But there are some really good fish restaurants and some good Italian places. Some of those are right on the water and those are the ones to go to. We have a number of different dishes. Obviously we have the meatballs that are somewhat popular. We have something called Pyttipanna. I don't know if I have ever seen it on a menu in the States, but its small squares of potato, sausage, ham and bacon mixed in together. On top of that you add an egg sunny side up. It's a delicious meal.
Sounds terrible. Just kidding. What about your favorite restaurant?
Kronwall: Let me think. I like a place -- Gerda's. They have everything. I really like their smoked salmon with boiled potatoes. They have burgers and steak and everything else. They have a great sample. A good appetizer for people that go there is the Toast Skagen. It's kind of like mixed with sour cream, shrimp, red onion and maybe a few more ingredients that I'm not sure of. Excellent."
What kind of nightlife should we expect?
Kronwall: I think the nightlife is pretty good if you compare it to other places. I think there are a number of good places to go. It's a big city with a lot of people out on the streets.