Nik Backstrom: Watch the Wild's secret weapon work his magic

This week's cover story profiles Niklas Backstrom, the unstoppable goalie for the Minnesota Wild.

Known for his general ability to stay calm under pressure, the only time he really shows excitement is when he's between the pipes yelling directions at the D. The only problem, his teammates joke, is that they can't understand his thick Finnish accent.

"The Opposite of Wild," explains how Backstrom readies himself for the game by sticking to routines: stretching, strength, mental preparation. The psychological pressure of being goalie can be crushing, but Backstrom manages the stress by repeating routines so frequently that they are automatic when the game lights go up.

Backstrom is a famously private Finn, but once you get to know him you'll notice that he's got a great sense of humor. Flashes of that shine in this recent clip of Hockey Unplugged in St. Louis Park, where Backstrom and fellow Finn Antti Miettinen field questions from hard-core hockey fans.

To see the wonder on ice in action, go see a Wild game yourself:

MINNESOTA WILD HOME GAMES Xcel Energy Center • 175 W. Kellogg Blvd. • St. Paul • 651.602.6000 • Thu/12/16 • 7 p.m. vs. Senators Mon/12/20 • 7 p.m. vs. Flames Sun/12/26 • 6 p.m. vs. Red Wings Wed/12/29 • 7 p.m. vs. Sharks Fri/12/31 • 5 p.m. vs. Predators Sun/01/09 • 5 p.m. vs. Stars Fri/01/14 • 7 p.m.; vs. Avalanche Sun/01/16 • 5 p.m. vs. Canucks Tue/02/01 • 7 p.m. vs. Kings Wed/02/09 • 7 p.m.; vs. Avalanche Sat/02/12 • 8 p.m. vs. Blues Tue/02/15 • 7 p.m. vs. Canucks Fri/02/18 • 7 p.m. vs. Ducks Sun/02/20 • 5 p.m. vs. Red Wings Tue/02/22 • 7 p.m. vs. Oilers Mon/02/28 • 7 p.m. vs. Blackhawks Sun/03/06 • 5 p.m. vs. Sabres Tue/03/08 • 7 p.m. vs. Avalanche Sat/03/19 • 1 p.m. vs. Blue Jackets Thu/03/31 • 7 p.m. vs. Oilers Sat/03/26 • 7 p.m. vs. Blues Sun/03/20 • 6 p.m. vs. Canadiens Tue/03/22 • 7 p.m. vs. Maple Leafs Sun/04/10 • 5 p.m. vs. Stars

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