Last week, Ottawa GM Bryan Murray announced he was keeping Mika Zibanejad from joining Team Sweden at the 2013 World Junior championships so Zibanejad could continue playing with AHL Binghamton.
That didn’t sit well with Swedish head coach Roger Ronnberg then — and it’s not sitting well now, either.
“It is sad that Europeans always have to be on our backs for them over there and that they can dictate and decide about these tournaments,” Ronnberg told reporters in Sweden on Monday (via the Ottawa Citizen).
“They [North Americans] are pretty stubborn. It’s a game of power against Europe, this.”
On Monday, Sweden released its training camp roster for the ’13 tourney — to be played in Ufa, Russia — and Zibanejad’s absence drew plenty of attention.
He was a national hero after scoring the tournament-winning goal in last year’s competition (a 1-0 OT win over Russia), snapping Sweden’s 31-year gold medal drought in the process.
There’s also the fact Sweden was set to return a whopping nine players from last year’s team, a number that’s been whittled down to six. Defensemen Oscar Klefbom and Jonas Brodin are out with injury, and those losses are compounded by the fact Zibanejad won’t be made available.
That said, Team Sweden isn’t ready to admit defeat just yet. Following the roster announcement, Ronnberg alluded to the national federation getting involved in the Zibanejad affair.
“It is a big disappointment that Ottawa does not want to release Mika to join the team for the World Juniors,” Ronnberg told IIHF.com. “I have asked our federation to intervene and I am confident they will.”
Shayne Gostisbehere is the proud owner of a new rookie record.
With his goal in the third period of Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the Devils, the 22-year-old extended his point streak to 11 games, which is a record for rookie defensemen in the NHL.
Gostisbehere has an incredible 10 goals and 30 points in 35 games this season.
Gostisbehere’s goal tied the game at one after Devils forward Joseph Blandisi scored this beauty in the first period:
Adam Henrique added the game-winning goal in overtime.
It’s the second straight 2-1 victory for the Devils, who also beat the Oilers by the same score on Tuesday night.
The Flyers have just one win in their last five contests.
To add insult to injury, Philadelphia lost Michael Del Zotto to an upper-body injury, per GM Ron Hextall.
Here’s an updated look at the Metropolitan division standings and Wild Card race:
CHICAGO (AP) Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin is expected to play Saturday night against Anaheim after missing two games with an illness.
Panarin participated in Chicago’s optional morning skate, and coach Joel Quenneville says the rookie will be in the lineup against the Ducks.
The 24-year-old Panarin, who has played on Chicago’s second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane for most of the season, is second on the team with 34 assists and 52 points. The Blackhawks dropped both games while he was out.
Some good news/bad news for the Rangers.
Exactly one week after suffering a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the ice with his teammates this morning.
The Rangers captain was wearing a non-contract jersey, but “looked good” according to coach Alain Vigneault.
McDonagh was hurt after taking a punch to the head from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (above).
The 26-year-old has missed each of his team’s last three games since suffering the injury.
McDonagh hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen in the next few days according to Vigneault.
The news wasn’t as good for forward Rick Nash, who’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his leg.
Nash has missed each of New York last eight game’s and Vigneault admitted that he’s no longer considered day-to-day.
He’ll miss at least another week.
What a story Joseph Blandisi‘s been for the New Jersey Devils this season.
The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game on Dec. 11 and has stayed with the Devils ever since.
It took him five games to pick up his first career point, but he’s done a whole lot more damage since then.
Blandisi came into Saturday’s action with 10 points in his last 12 games and he added to that against the Flyers.
He opened the scoring with this beautiful between-the-legs goal on goalie Michal Neuvirth (top of the page).
That’s Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season.
Some Twitter reaction to the goal: