There’s no question that the Swedes are one of the major contenders in the 2014 Winter Games. They entered this tournament as one of the favorites to win gold and were the only team to win all three of their preliminary round matches in regulation time.
Sweden also has a history of early exits in the knockout stage though. After a similarly dominant preliminary round in 2010, Sweden ended up losing in the quarterfinals to Slovakia. It was the same story in 2002, only in that case the team that ousted Sweden in the quarterfinals was Belarus.
Daniel Alfredsson was a member of both of those losing squads, but he also won a gold medal in 2006. Given his wealth of experience, what has he been sharing with his teammates as they prepare to battle the winner of Slovenia versus Austria?
“I don’t think I need to tell them anything about that after the group games we’ve had,” Alfredsson said, per the Olympic News Service. “We are going to be the favorites, no doubt about that, so it’s just about balancing our energy the right way. We can’t focus on what we have to lose but on what we can win.”
As talented as Sweden is, it’s taken a hit due to injuries to Henrik Sedin, Johan Franzen, and Henrik Zetterberg. Without them, defenseman Erik Karlsson has led the charge offensively with three goals and five points.
Even still, as Alfredsson alluded to, this team has a lot of potential.