Mattias Sjögren: Adjusting to North America and the American League

Mattias Sjogren, via Caps in Pictures

A translation of a story that ran recently in Helsingborgs Dagblad

After being one of the last players to be cut from the Washington Capitals training camp, Mattias Sjogren's NHL career has come to a temporary halt.

"I think I performed well at camp. I think it's a little bit strange that I only got to play in three of the team's seven preseason games. I think I should have had the chance to play in a few more games so that they could see more of what I can bring to the table," says Mattias.

Why he was sent down to Washington's farm team in Hershey he hardly knows himself. "For four weeks the coaches don't say a single word to you, but the fact that they don't talk to you usually means that they are satisfied with what you are doing."

When we catch up with Mattias he sits at his hotel room in Hershey. The change in scenery couldn't have been bigger. Last week he was in the capital of the United States and now he is in a small town in Pennsylvania.
"You would be hard pressed to call this a big town, I think you can call it a podunk town. There's not much going on around here, so I think I'm just going to play hockey and stay at the hotel," he says of the small town which is located 2.5 hours from Washington.

It's been less than a week since the former Lejonet and Rögle player was told that he wouldn't make the big club right away but he has already played two games in the AHL with the Hershey Bears.

"We have won both games and it has gone really well, I have been given a lot of ice time. I'm not surprised by that, I was expecting that they would give me a lot of time on the ice. Some of the coaches here I had at the training camp in Washington too," says Sjögren, who on Sunday had his first day off in a long time.

The game in North America differs quiet a bit from how it's played in Sweden.

"Everything moves really fast over here, the game is played more on the fly. The puck moves in and out of the zones all the time. The coaches like to keep the game simple. Things like using the boards to get the puck out of the zone and just work hard is what they like to see. I like playing on the smaller ice surfaces, I think it suits me."

Even though Mattias is playing in the minors at the moment the dream of playing in the NHL with childhood friend Marcus Johansson is not gone. He can be called up to the big league at any time.

"It's impossible for me to know how big my chances are to get called up. But I think I will have a talk with the coaches, in the long run it won't work to be kept completely in the dark like this."

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