Henrik Sedin

Trouble for Tre Kronor: Henrik Sedin won’t play for Sweden at Olympics

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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.

Video: Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.

Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.

The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.

Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.

But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.

“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.