Thomas Karlsson of the Dagens Nyheter in Sweden published an interview with Rangers prospect Lias Andersson. The story sheds more light on the situation last year for what happened while in Hartford. Andersson opens up about what went wrong and his decision to go back to Sweden.
Lias Andersson reached a breaking point
Lias Andersson started his third season with the Rangers, after a pre-season where he showed a lot of promise. However, in the six weeks that followed, his minutes dipped, as did his performance. A demotion to Hartford was the next logical step and while the initial response was positive, and his on-ice performance was hopeful, Lias was struggling off the ice.
In his own words, he ended up in a vicious cycle that hindered his performance on the ice because he didn’t feel well off the ice. The more it impacted his game it only made things worse. At his lowest point, he struggled to sleep, which was showing up in his play.
Andersson’s Fear of Failure
When the fear of failure takes over, you have to break that cycle, and moving back to Sweden was his attempt at doing so. “I did a lot of stupid things. I have smashed lamps, mirrors, trash cans and of course a bunch of sticks. In addition, I could completely unnecessarily start arguments with [referees] and opponents“, the 21-year old Swede says about his own behavior.
He lost his passion for the game. With HV71 Lias feels more comfortable. “Here they know me inside and out. Jönköping is my second home”, Lias says about his connection with the team he played for in his draft year.
Bottling it all up
Lias did not talk to anyone about how he felt, although his family and agent suspected something was wrong. “It was something gnawing at me but at the same time difficult to explain to others“, he continues. On top of it all, Andersson suffered an injury, further complicating his situation.
When he did not join the team within the stipulated 24 hours after being demoted, he was suspended without pay. That was the final straw for Andersson. He admits he’s impulsive and has made rash decisions in the past which led to mixed responses when he announced he wanted to go back home.
His friends and family quickly realized this was serious and they supported his decision. He is also thankful for the effort his agent went through. “I want to emphasize that my return to Sweden was not because I didn’t want to play in the AHL. I felt worse in the NHL than when I was in the AHL”.
Life back in Sweden
When Andersson returned to Sweden, he moved to Kungälv and didn’t even think about playing hockey. Lias just wanted to feel better. He practiced a bit with the local team and when the call came from HV71, he felt like he was ready and it was the right environment for him.
“When I turned everything around, I came to the conclusion that what I need most of all is the continuity of hockey and every day life. I get that here with HV71“, he explains the decision to not fly to North America for the return-to-play.
As for his future with the Rangers, he is silent for the first time in the interview. He takes a few seconds and then responds by saying that he feels as if people sometimes forgets he’s only 21 and he is still learning both on and off the ice. He has realized that he has to focus on this season and his play first.
Credit for the interview to Thomas Karlsson of Dagens Nyheter (dn.se)
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