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Player Diaries

World Cup diary: Gabriel Landeskog

Team Sweden forward on hotel life, looking ahead to Team Europe in World Cup semifinals

by Gabriel Landeskog / Special to

Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog is playing for Team Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey 2016. The 23-year-old Avalanche captain has agreed to keep a diary throughout the tournament, which started in Toronto on Sept. 17 and runs through Oct. 1.

In this installment, Landeskog talks about life in a hotel, missing Avalanche training camp, Team Sweden's semifinal game against Team Europe and its crazy game against Team North America:

TORONTO -- It's been 22 sleeps in a hotel bed, from Gothenburg to Helsinki to Washington to Toronto. Twenty-two nights and I haven't unpacked one time. I'm still living out of my suitcase. The dressers in my hotel room remain empty.

That might sound nuts and maybe I should have unpacked when I got here late at night on Sept. 14, but this is what hockey players do. We never unpack. We're used to living out of suitcases. Normally our stays in hotels are shorter, but I'm just doing what I know now.

Sometimes it's easier to live out of a suitcase. At least it is for me. I know exactly the way I pack things and take things out. If I take too many pieces of clothing out I don't know where they are eventually. I try to keep my clothes still in the suitcase so I don't make it too messy.

So there you go, now you know how I live in a hotel. I won't be living in a hotel once we're done here at the World Cup, but we hope to have at least another week. What's strange about it is all my teammates in Denver have started training camp and I'm not there with them. That's different.

I talked to some of the guys that are back in Denver and they've done their fitness testing and are skating, and it feels weird not being able to be there with the team, especially with having a new coach this year. But on the other hand we're here and having a lot of fun and trying to win a championship with Team Sweden.

You're sort of in this bubble, the World Cup of Hockey 2016 bubble, where you kind of just eat, sleep and breathe World Cup. Outside of the rink there's still a lot of studying to do. You try to watch opponents, think about the semifinals and try to envision yourself and what you want to do out there. You walk outside and you can tell there's a major hockey tournament going on here in Toronto. It's pretty much everywhere.

So you're in this bubble, but it is very weird that the guys have started training camp in Denver and I'm not there. The good thing is I didn't have to do fitness testing. But we'll see what the strength coach will make me do when I get back home. It's not like I haven't been doing anything, though.

As for us here, for Team Sweden, we are halfway to reaching our goal. We initially wanted to put ourselves in a good position going into the semifinals and obviously we did that by winning the group. Now the real tests start.

Team Europe has proven itself time and time again against good teams. That's a good team. That's a team to count on in this tournament. It will be a good challenge for us. But I think over the last three games we've done some good things as a team, stayed patient and really found ways to win hockey games. To be honest with you, I still think we have our best hockey in front of us. I'm looking forward to Sunday (1 p.m. ET; ESPN2, CBC, TVA Sports).

Everyone still wants to talk about our game Wednesday against Team North America. It was crazy, but I don't think at the time when you're in it that you realize what it might look like from the outside.

Obviously the start of the game wasn't the way we wanted to start it, giving up two goals, a couple of breakaways and a penalty shot in the first 95 seconds. But we found ways to stay with our system, stay with the process and not get too frustrated or push the panic button. We just found ourselves, kept going. We just kept working and we trusted that our system was going to help us win that hockey game.

We got the game to overtime. We knew we had the point that we needed to win Group B, and we knew it could go either way. Everybody definitely saw that. Up and down it went, both teams had chances to score and there was Nate MacKinnon putting it in the back of the net.

Video: NAT@SWE: MacKinnon shows off silky mitts on OT winner

Let's just say it was a nice move by him, no doubt. I've seen that tons of times in practice with the Avalanche, but practice is one thing. In an overtime when he'd already been out there for a minute and a half and he looked tired, to manage to score that goal was impressive. Then after he scored it looked like he had tons of energy.

That's Nate for you. The bigger the stage the better he gets.

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