”We are not a team that wants to hang back and play boring hockey. We want to make a game out of it. We have succeeded to play a good game against the top teams, and to falter in a game like this really stinks.”
Jacob Olofsson clearly expressed his disappointment when taking a few minutes to speak with Eyes on the Prize after a 3-1 loss to Rögle. Olofsson played almost 20 minutes, was minus-two, and had a heavy hit, showing that he has no problems after his return after the injury. An injury that was initially thought to be a concussion that ended up being a shoulder injury.
Olofsson started the season strong with four assists in eight games and by his own account, agrees it has been a good start.
“After the injury, I came back even better,” he said. “I was more involved in the offence and I took more responsibility [in the] defensive zone and was all around a better player when I got back. I got a little bit of motivation when I was away and saw the team doing well, you don’t want to go in and do a bad job.”
The Montreal Canadiens continue to keep a close eye on their adept in Sweden, speaking with Olofsson through Rockström every other week. Their main focus is on training well and not on the game performance. It’s important to build up with a clear goal in mind rather than to look at the stat line.
The biggest adjustment for Olofsson is in his defensive game. He points to the strength of the opposing players and the speed of the game where, more often than not, a mistake leads to a goal in the SHL. Whereas, in HockeyAllsvenskan that wasn’t always the case. He is aware of his need to adapt and develop, and says he spends time with the coaches looking at game film to improve, especially in his own end.
Timrå’s coach Fredrik Andersson likes his young centre. However, with a long off-season thanks to the combine, draft and development camp observers should be aware that this season is a very long one. “I think it’s a little bit of concern, like they are going to be tired during the season. They practice harder, they travel a lot so it will have an impact on their game later on during the season. They will have a hard program all season long because they will play in the World Junior Championships. It will be a tough season, but I think these two guys are really prepared to finish off this season really good too.”
There is no doubt that there is a NHLer in Olofsson from coach Andersson’s point of view. He is on our second power-play line and, “he has the hands and the hockey sense to set up. I think that will be one of the things he will bring when he comes over there [to Montreal] too”.
Catch more from both coach Andersson and Jacob Olofsson in the next episode of Habsent Minded.