Nik Backstrom: Watch the Wild's secret weapon work his magic

Backstrom Cover.jpg
The Opposite of Wild: Nik Backstrom
This week's cover story profiles Niklas Backstrom, the unstoppable goalie for the Minnesota Wild.

Known for his general ability to stay calm under pressure, the only time he really shows excitement is when he's between the pipes yelling directions at the D. The only problem, his teammates joke, is that they can't understand his thick Finnish accent.

"The Opposite of Wild," explains how Backstrom readies himself for the game by sticking to routines: stretching, strength, mental preparation. The psychological pressure of being goalie can be crushing, but Backstrom manages the stress by repeating routines so frequently that they are automatic when the game lights go up.

Backstrom is a famously private Finn, but once you get to know him you'll notice that he's got a great sense of humor. Flashes of that shine in this recent clip of Hockey Unplugged in St. Louis Park, where Backstrom and fellow Finn Antti Miettinen field questions from hard-core hockey fans.

To see the wonder on ice in action, go see a Wild game yourself:

Xcel Energy Center • 175 W. Kellogg Blvd. • St. Paul • 651.602.6000 •
Thu/12/16 • 7 p.m. vs. Senators
Mon/12/20 • 7 p.m. vs. Flames
Sun/12/26 • 6 p.m. vs. Red Wings
Wed/12/29 • 7 p.m. vs. Sharks
Fri/12/31 • 5 p.m. vs. Predators
Sun/01/09 • 5 p.m. vs. Stars
Fri/01/14 • 7 p.m.; vs. Avalanche
Sun/01/16 • 5 p.m. vs. Canucks
Tue/02/01 • 7 p.m. vs. Kings
Wed/02/09 • 7 p.m.; vs. Avalanche
Sat/02/12 • 8 p.m. vs. Blues
Tue/02/15 • 7 p.m. vs. Canucks
Fri/02/18 • 7 p.m. vs. Ducks
Sun/02/20 • 5 p.m. vs. Red Wings
Tue/02/22 • 7 p.m. vs. Oilers
Mon/02/28 • 7 p.m. vs. Blackhawks
Sun/03/06 • 5 p.m. vs. Sabres
Tue/03/08 • 7 p.m. vs. Avalanche
Sat/03/19 • 1 p.m. vs. Blue Jackets
Thu/03/31 • 7 p.m. vs. Oilers
Sat/03/26 • 7 p.m. vs. Blues
Sun/03/20 • 6 p.m. vs. Canadiens
Tue/03/22 • 7 p.m. vs. Maple Leafs
Sun/04/10 • 5 p.m. vs. Stars

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