The Montreal Canadiens success has drawn interest from at least two former players of the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge in Sweden, namely Mats Näslund and Peter Popovic. When Eyes on the Prize reached them a day before the big midsummer celebration in Sweden they are both exited for their former team, and the fans.
Mats Näslund confesses straight up that he doesn’t “follow the Canadiens anymore,” something he pointed out in the Puckdrop Podcast a couple of years ago. Näslund said there are only two teams that he follows his hometown team of Timrå and his last team Malmö. However, things might be changing.
“I am extremely happy for the team and the city,“ says the player who still holds the rookie scoring title for the Canadiens. At least for now, when a certain Cole Caufield will challenge the 71 (26G-45A) points that Näslund scored in his rookie season next year. While Näslund says that he has no knowledge about the player it seems that he will get a first view of Caufield as he finishes the conversation with “I will most likely watch the next game.”
One that does seem to follow the Canadiens more closely is Sweden’s former National team assistant coach, Peter Popovic who will be part of Rikard Grönborg’s coaching team with the Zürich Lions next season.
“It is super fun for the Habs, and the fans,” Popovic said. Popovic’s hockey knowledge seeps though as he continues with a short analysis of the Canadiens team. “They have the best goalie, and two young forwards in Caufield and Suzuki who produce [points] in the playoffs.” It is clear that Popovic does stay up to watch the games.
“I can’t even remember when there was a Canadian team in the final last time. Hopefully Montreal can reach it, there is only one more victory needed,” he said. Popovic also expresses his happiness for fellow Swede Erik Gustafsson, and the way he has played in the playoffs.
“Of course I support the Canadiens, they drafted me and I spent five fantastic seasons there,” Popovic said.