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These Games Are All About the Caps

Nylander: has connection with piano, ping-pong, veal, Beijing. (By Toni L. Sandys - TWP)

By now you've surely heard that Alex Ovechkin's visage is being used to cheer on Russia's Olympians, and that he plans on coming to Beijing, reportedly to attend men's basketball group stage contests against Iran and Croatia. Yes, I plan to stalk him.

Less publicized is fellow Cap Michael Nylander's connection to these games. Nylander is a partial investor in "The W," the first Swedish Restaurant and Bar in the heart of Beijing, named after the legendary Swedish ping-ponger Jan-Ove Waldner. (The third investor is Swedish pianist Robert Wells. I guess "The W" has a better ring to it than "The N.")

On the menu are meatballs, pancakes and "Swedish entertainers who perform on demand." Those menus, by the way, are shaped like ping-pong paddles. (And yes, in other Swedish news, I've already seen an IKEA here.)

Anyhow, The W doesn't seem to be going out of its way to attract Caps fans this month. If you go to its Web site, you read "This site has been suspended." And if you call the establishment from your Chinese office space, the conversation will go something like this.

Blogger: Do you speak English?

Host: [Foreign language, foreign language, foreign language]

Blogger: English?

Host: [Hands off phone?]

Blogger: Yeah, do you speak English?

Second host: Yes. A little.

Blogger: Are you open?

Second host: Yes, open.

Blogger: Cool. Um, is Michael Nylander going to be here?

Second host:

Blogger: Michael Nylander? The hockey player? He's one of the owners. Hockey. Ice hockey.

Second host: Slower please?

Blogger: Mich-ael Ny-land-er? No? This isn't working, is it?

So whether Michael Nylander will be handing out humorously named veal burgers called the "Wallenbergare" this month remains to be seen, I guess. And he would appear not to be a particularly active partner in the restaurant. Either that, or I just don't know how to say Nylander in Mandarin.

UPDATE: Just met two exceedingly nice Swedish fellows from Svenska Dagbladet, "Swedish Daily." They're staying at our hotel. They know of Waldner, known in China as the "Old Green Tree." They say he is wildly popular here and is scheduled to be in Beijing on Tuesday. Nylander's bar ownership was news to them. Maybe we'll all go together.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 4, 2008; 3:29 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Olympics  
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