Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin has confirmed reports that he won’t be representing Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Sedin, who was set to serve as one of Sweden’s alternate captains, informed Sportnet’s Dan Murphy of the decision on Thursday. The news came just hours after Vancouver announced it was shutting Sedin down for the final two games prior to the Olympic break, an announcement that included John Tortorella saying he didn’t want his captain playing in Sochi.
To say Sedin has been ineffective lately would be putting it mildly. He’s gone pointless in back-to-back losses to Detroit and Boston — Vancouver only managed to score once in the two games — and hasn’t been able to take faceoffs, attempting just four against the Wings and one against the Bruins.
Prior to the Detroit game, Sedin had missed six in a row with a rib ailment.
The news is a big blow to both player and country, as Sedin has a long history of competing for Sweden internationally. He was part of the gold medal-winning side at the 2006 games in Turin, played again at the ’10 games in Vancouver and won gold at the 2013 World Hockey Championships.
Sedin is tied with his brother (and fellow Swedish Olympian) Daniel for the Canucks’ scoring lead this season, with 40 points. Henrik’s 31 assists put him t-19th in the NHL and fourth among all Swedish skaters.
Reports suggest that Calgary’s Mikael Backlund could be in line as a replacement. The Swedes has already had to deal with an injury replacement issue, as Gustav Nyquist was called into the side to take the spot of Johan Franzen (currently sidelined with a concussion) and Backlund would be something of a surprise.
Based on an earlier report from IIHF scribe Risto Pakarainen, Sweden’s list of replacement forwards included Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist and Washington’s Marcus Johansson.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.