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 his time in Toronto so far and Team Sweden's 2-1 win against Team Russia on Sunday.
TORONTO -- It's been a great start in Toronto.
I had some family that flew into town late last week after we got here. My dad, my sister, my mom all came in last Thursday and Friday. I've been spending some time with them and it's been great. We went to lunch downtown last Friday, walked around Yorkville, took in the sights of downtown Toronto.
Obviously playing my junior hockey in Kitchener, I've taken some day trips to Toronto and my girlfriend is from just outside of Toronto, but I haven't really spent too much time in downtown Toronto really walking around so it was nice to get a chance to do that with my family.
Video: SWE@RUS: Landeskog buries PPG to open the scoring
I really enjoy downtown Toronto. There is a great supply of restaurants and all kinds of food, whatever you want. That has been awesome. We have tried a different restaurant every night so far. We went to Cibo last night, an Italian place, and really enjoyed ourselves there. Yorkville is a great neighborhood that I had never been to before. It's busy here. You see all the people going through Union Station. It's a lively city and I like it.
If I was in Denver right now I'd have no family around. We'd be doing informal skates, getting ready for training camp, so obviously this is quite different.
I was back home in the summer for two months and got a chance to spend time with family and catch up with friends as well, but it's nice to have them here and honestly it's fun for them to be a part of something like this, to see how this whole tournament is being played. They get to enjoy all the festivities around, like the Fan Village.
One of the great things about it also is it gets my mind off of hockey for a little bit. That's not easy here in Toronto because wherever you go you really can tell there's a big tournament going on and obviously we're spending a lot of time at the rink trying to prepare for games, trying to do our best for that. It's been nice to have some family in town for some balance, to hang out with and spend some time with. If you're able to take some time to, say, go for a fika (remember I told you about that in a previous diary) with your mom and dad it's a nice change of pace.
It's also really great to see how it impacts them. All of these cool experiences that we go through, they really don't mean anything unless you have someone to share it with. Obviously you have your teammates to go through it with, but to have your family alongside with you, to see them in the stands enjoying themselves, it just adds to the whole thing. I think the NHL Players' Association has done a great job of taking care of the families and make sure they know what's going on.
I also get to see some of my Avalanche teammates. I ran into Varly and Dutchy and Nate at the Fan Village the first night. That's Semyon Varlamov, Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon, by the way. It was just to say hi basically before all the teams were getting introduced on stage. It was great to see those guys. Obviously I didn't get a chance to play against Varly because Sergei Bobrovsky started in our game against Team Russia, but it'll be fun to play against Nate on Wednesday when we play Team North America.
We're here for a reason though and it started off well for us in our 2-1 win against Team Russia on Sunday. I thought we followed the game plan from start to finish and we made it hard on the Russians to create scoring chances. With the 'D' corps we have, they're such great skaters that they don't allow a lot of chances. It felt really good to be able to play a really solid 60 minutes.
Of course, the last 30 seconds were nerve wracking. I was on the bench when Alex Ovechkin thought he had the tying goal. I didn't see what happened other than on the big screen. I put faith in the video review and faith in the referees and I happily saw them make the right decision.
Now it's about relaxing and getting ready. We had a good skate Monday morning. I'll probably see my family for a fika again this afternoon and probably watch the North America-Russia game tonight. That one should be a good one.
My thoughts are already on our game against Team Finland on Tuesday.