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World Cup diary: Gabriel Landeskog

Team Sweden forward getting mentally focused for tournament

by Gabriel Landeskog / Special to

Team Sweden forward and Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog will be blogging for throughout the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

In his first installment, Landeskog talks about the first day of practice, at Scandinavium on Monday, what it's been like preparing for the day to arrive and more.

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- It's a day of firsts. Our first practice and my first blog. It also has been a good day here in Gothenburg. We got our work started today and we're all getting ramped up for the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

This tournament has been something we've all been preparing for all summer at our own pace. For me, though, knowing that this was going to come at us pretty quickly here I've been mentally trying to get more focused every time I'm on the ice and I've been trying to think about hockey a lot more when I'm off the ice as well.

You have to do that to be mentally ready to compete in a major international tournament right off the hop. We're talking about the best players in the world being in this tournament so it forces you to be sharp. If you're not on your game when it starts, when the national anthems are over and that first puck drops, you could be done way sooner than you expect. It's a short tournament. If you lose a game or two you'll be out quickly.

If practice today is an indication, the boys are ready to get this thing started. I thought the guys were pretty sharp and crisp out there. Obviously when you have new linemates you're going to have to find that chemistry so much faster. But I think that's the beauty of this tournament as well. Everybody is doing the same thing. Everybody is coming in at the same time and preparing the same way, and chemistry is one thing that you're going to have to find quickly.

I didn't have to worry about any jet lag upon arriving here in Gothenburg because I spent most of the last two months in Stockholm. I got there at the end of June and started skating in early August to get ready for this and, of course, the NHL season.

On Saturday, Rickard Rakell and I hopped in a car and drove here to Gothenburg. It was our little road trip. It's about a five-hour drive, but we made it easy on ourselves by getting some cookies and listening to some good tunes. I drove the first leg, we stopped for dinner, Ricky finished it up and we arrived here without any issues.

Sunday was more of a practical, logistical day for us. We had to do physicals and had a light skate. We also had to make sure our Team Sweden-issued suits fit well.

That's right, we're all going to look the same going to games and going on flights because we'll all be wearing the same suit. It's a thing Team Sweden has done in the past as well. It's a show of team unity, which I'm all for. I like it. It's definitely different than in the NHL, where you buy your own suits and basically wear what you want.

And, yes, you can bet it's one of those tight-fitted Swedish suits. You'll be seeing lots of that.

Now that we're done for the day, I'll try to get in a quick nap, maybe watch a movie in my hotel room and hopefully all the guys will get together for dinner. I'll have to chat with Erik Karlsson and Henrik Lundqvist. They're from here. They know the spots. I hope it's the entire team going out to dinner too. That's part of what this week is good for, getting to know everybody a little better and making sure everybody comes together as a team, so as soon as we land in Toronto next week it's full focus on what we've got to do.

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