Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 12 - Sweden v Slovenia

Sedin feeling ‘good’ after scoring first goal of 2014


SOCHI, Russia — Daniel Sedin buried the puck into the gaping Slovenian net, and then he fell to the ice.

Quite possibly, he fell in relief. Because for the former NHL scoring champ, that third-period tally — off a perfect pass from Loui Eriksson — was his first of the Olympics, and his first of any kind since Dec. 30, when he scored for his Vancouver Canucks against the Flyers.

“Yeah, it felt good,” said Sedin. “Two-nothing, too. As long as the game was 1-0, they’re right there, so it was a big goal for us.”

A big goal. And a long wait to get it. Counting the Olympics, Sedin had gone 22 games without bulging the twine, something he did 41 times when he won the Art Ross Trophy in 2010-11.

That said, he didn’t think the extended slump had affected his confidence.

“I’ve been playing for a long time,” he said. “You can’t change your game just because you haven’t scored.”

He also still thinks Sweden has room for improvement, even after shutting out Slovenia, 5-0, in the quarterfinals.

“It was better tonight. Still, it can get even better than this,” he said. “The opponents are going to be tougher the next two games, so we have to be ready and really bear down defensively.”

In Friday’s semis, the Swedes will either face their geographical rivals from Finland, or the host Russians.

“Finland’s looked really good. They play us as tight as anyone in this tournament,” Sedin said. “And Russia, we know what they can do up front, so it’s going to be tough either way.”

As for his twin brother, Henrik, who was forced to miss the Olympics with a rib injury, Daniel says they’ve spoken a few times during the Games.

According to Daniel, Henrik is hoping to be back playing for the Canucks once the Olympics are over.

“He hopes so, but we’ll see,” he said. “It’ll be close.”

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?