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Five Questions With...

Lidstrom having 'enlightening experience'

Seven-time Norris winner discusses role with Sweden in Five Questions

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.

The latest edition features Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom:

DENVER -- Nicklas Lidstrom, once the best Swedish player in the NHL, is watching the best his country has to offer from a perspective that's brand new to him. The former Detroit Red Wings captain is doing so as a scout for the Swedish Ice Hockey Association.

Lidstrom, a seven-time Norris Trophy winner, is one of three advisers along with former Olympic gold medal teammates Daniel Alfredsson and Mats Sundin to the group putting together Team Sweden's roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

The first 16 players for all eight teams that will compete in the World Cup later this year will be revealed throughout the day Wednesday. Tommy Boustedt is Sweden's general manager and Rikard Gronborg is the coach.

Lidstrom has watched who his country has to offer from his home in Sweden and from press boxes in North America when he has had the opportunity to make the trip. It has been an enlightening experience.

"You look at players, talk about the lineup and the way we want to play," Lidstrom said. "We want to play a puck possession style as usual. We're not going to change the way we've played in the past. We want to use what we're good at. We want to use our skill, our speed, but in a short tournament like this you have to be prepared and you have to adjust to some of the teams you're playing against. But we're not going to change our style of play."

Lidstrom, who played for the Red Wings in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game on Friday at Coors Field, offered more of his thoughts on the roster selection process, his future, some of the best Swedish players in the NHL now, and his former team in an interview with NHL.com.

Here are Five Questions with … Nicklas Lidstrom:

Has it been hard to narrow it down to 16 players to announce on Wednesday?

"It comes down to the last couple of guys. The last couple of guys have been the tough part. And I think the toughest part will be the last seven guys you're going to pick. You're looking at players and how they've played together, have they played on the same team in the past, do they know, and what kind of players do you want. It's been a fun process for me because when you're playing you're not part of the process in that way. Now I'm watching the games from up top and it's different. It's been a learning experience for me."

Has your involvement with selecting this team made you feel that being a part of Swedish Ice Hockey going forward is a future career path for you?

"I'm enjoying it and someone asked me that question before, and I said I'll go to training camp, I'll go to the tournament and I'll evaluate afterwards to see what I think about it. But so far it's been a lot of fun, especially sitting down with the group of guys and throwing different names around, different lineups and different combinations. I've enjoyed that. That's been fun. Even coming over here and watching the players from upstairs and getting to see their tendencies, I really enjoy that. This is a first step for me, being a part of something like this, where you're part of building a team and getting a chance to learn about the process. We'll see where this will take me, if it will be something I will continue to do or if I just go back to youth hockey again and be part of that. It's still up in the air."

What's your take on the way Erik Karlsson is playing now?

"I think he's been terrific. He's carrying his team on his shoulders and he shows up every night. He works hard and he is producing for the team. He's logging a lot of minutes and he's playing well even though he's playing a lot of minutes. He's been impressive. I've watched him the last few years and I think he has improved defensively, he has been playing better defensively. But you're looking at him at being an offensive threat, but we know he can play well in his own zone. But of course you want to use his assets, what he's good at, and that's his offense. He's probably the best defenseman in the League offensively the way he can produce and play. But if he makes a mistake, he's so good skating-wise that he can recover. He's confident in his skating ability too, so that's why he can be a little bit aggressive up ice. He knows what he can do offensively and he's learning more and more how to react defensively with the speed he has and how to recover."

Video: OTT@TBL: Karlsson scores on slap shot one-timer

Have any Swedish players that you have scouted through this process caught you by surprise?

"Well I saw (Dallas Stars defenseman) John Klingberg play in Frolunda before he came over and I saw a very talented young player when he played in Sweden, so I'm not going to say I'm surprised that he is where he is because I saw that potential. But I didn't think it was going to happen this fast for him, that he was going to adjust and take the step forward that he has in the last year and a half. I saw the potential of taking the next step, but when you take the next step you have to adjust to that too and be able to adjust to the next level. He's been able to do that. You see a lot of similarities in his and [Karlsson's] game and what they can do offensively."

How about the Red Wings, because I know you keep up on them and were recently in Detroit. What are your thoughts on them this season and anybody that might have surprised you?

"I've talked to the guys and I've seen them, and Dylan Larkin was a big surprise the way he's been able to keep it up throughout the year. Usually you see a dip about halfway through the year. There's all that excitement early on, but then you get a little tired, a little fatigued, but I haven't seen a dip in his game at all, so I think he's been a very big surprise. He knows he's got speed and he knows how to use his speed too. He knows what he can do. He relies on his abilities and he's not afraid to use any of them, whether it's taking a guy wide or cutting through the neutral zone. He's so good skating-wise that he's got the history to beat anyone."

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