After a lull in Lias Andersson news, Andersson conducted an interview Sunday with Sweden's Gothenburg Post. A translation of the interview, which was provided by reporter Johan Rylander, was run on Forever Blueshirts
yesterday and by Vince Mercogliano
today. That translation and columns cleared up some of the misconceptions that have existed since Andersson left the team and then landed back in Sweden, despite news that came out while he was in Sweden. (Thanks to Melting Plastic and TommyGTrain for pointing out the columns to me)
This is the Google Translation of the original interview from the write up in the Aftonbladet
Lias Andersson: "It was bad habits"
Lias Andersson found joy in hockey when he returned to Sweden.
In an interview with the Gothenburg Post, he shares more details about life in New York.
A life with bad habits, sleep problems and poor self-confidence.
Lias Andersson returned to Sweden from the New York Rangers in January. The 21-year-old did not feel well mentally and has been open since his return with how he has measured.
In an interview with the Gothenburg Post which met Andersson in connection with an ice pass in Kungälv, he opens up some more details
- I sat playing video games all night, just waiting for the Swedes to wake up at home to go to work. So I could call and talk some shit, like. It was bad habits, he tells the newspaper, and says he also struggled with poor self-confidence.
"Sleep tablet now and then"
The bad habits also led to sleep problems.
- I had trouble sleeping and started taking a sleeping tablet every now and then. Sat up late, played video games. It could be worse if I let it continue, he admits.
The future is unclear
The future is not carved in stone yet. There can be games in HV71 and there can be games in the NHL.
- I have no idea what's going on. No fucking idea whatsoever. I just practice - and see what happens. I'm open to anything. I just want to have fun. I just want to play hockey, he says.
What's clear from the above translation and the two columns linked above is that Andersson was struggling mightily, dealing with a lack of confidence, compounded by an injury to his foot. That led to poor eating habits and an inability sleep, which Andersson attempted to remediate via using a sleeping pill every once in a while. The downward spiral continued, which prompted his request for a trade on December 21 and then return to Sweden.
One area that Andersson cleared up in his interview with Rylander was the misperception that the Rangers knew what the issue was and did nothing to help him. ""I don't really want to talk about it that much, but they didn't know I had a hard time," New York maybe should have probed a bit harder initially, but Andersson's comment, quoted by Mercogliano, shows that the team was unaware of the distress he was in and why he left Hartford and headed back home.
Andersson also noted that President John Davidson's conversations with him, which arose because JD reached out to Andersson's agent, Jarrett Bousquet, and Andersson had a positive impact. "He has talked to me a few times," Andersson said. "He is very kind, a good man. He has asked about my feet and everything like that." Those conversations ultimately resulted in the Rangers loaning Andersson to HV-71 for whom he tallied five goals and seven assists in 15 games and rediscovered his mental balance and love for the game.
What happens next is unknown. Andersson thrived back home, re-acclimating to where it was comfortable and he was surrounded by friends and family. He could remain there next season, but he has not ruled out a return to the Rangers, to whom he is under contract for 2020-21 and who own his rights. "I do not know," he said when asked if he would accept such an invitation. "Damn, I haven't thought that far. I get to have a dialogue with agents and whatever it is during the summer — and then I try to take it as it comes. I am open to suggestions."
Fences still need mending and the team will need to be concerned with managing and treating Andersson's mental illness. Whether or not he truly is ready for a return to the US and if being in New York is the right place for him also factors into the equation. In addition, where he potentially fits on the roster and the amount of upside still remaining is unknown. What we have seen, however, from Robin Lehner and others is that mental illness is no joke. It's nothing that can or should be ignored or should a player be vilified or viewed as damaged goods because he is suffering from it, as Andersson clearly was.
Time will tell. But his comments and seeing how JD handled the situation are steps in the right direction. If Andersson can be the player who we thought New York drafted in 2017 or who we saw at the WJC, then he clearly can help this team, which is what should matter when evaluating his possible place on the roster.