How Oskar Sundqvist went from Sweden’s slopes to blocking pictures for the Blues – [Update News]

Earlier than there was hockey, there was snowboarding.

Earlier than he was staring down a shot from Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin, he was staring down Sweden’s “Åre” mountain.

Earlier than Oskar Sundqvist grew to become generally known as one of many Blues’ hardest-working gamers, he was tagging alongside together with his father, Anders, a former member of the Swedish nationwide alpine workforce.

“I’ve been snowboarding my entire life,” Sundqvist mentioned. “It’s one in every of my favourite issues to do. It makes you very glad — for me not less than.”

The 27-year-old heart may nonetheless be snowboarding as we speak if he hadn’t been bitten by the hockey bug at an early age, too. It’s lucky for the Blues, who obtained him again within the lineup Tuesday after lacking the primary month of the season recovering from knee and hip surgical procedures. He performed simply 14 shifts in 9:45 of ice time, however he’s again.

The workforce has its fearless ahead, who can hint that character trait again to his childhood, being on the highest of the mountains in Sweden with just one approach down.

“I keep in mind one time … my dad took us down an precise downhill ski slope and that was sort of scary,” Sundqvist mentioned. “It was simply ice throughout and it was simply straight down. He was laughing whereas we have been nearly crying.”

Anders Sundqvist could not have credited his son a lot then, however he does now.

“Oskar skied quite a bit, and truly, he had a variety of abilities,” the elder Sundqvist mentioned just lately from Sweden. “He may transfer fairly properly. I used to be just a little bit impressed at the moment.”

His confidence on the slopes didn’t develop in a single day — very like his NHL profession, which blossomed after a commerce from Pittsburgh in 2017. He went largely undiscussed within the deal that despatched Blues enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Penguins for a first-round choose, which the Blues used on Klim Kostin.