Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 12 - Sweden v Slovenia

Sweden shakes scrappy Slovenia on way to semis


Slovenia was able to hang in there for quite a while, but its Cinderella run ended on Wednesday, as Sweden handled them 5-0. Sweden awaits the winner of Finland – Russia in the semifinals of the men’s ice hockey tournament.

The Swedes carried much of the play, generating a 26-11 shot advantage through two periods, yet they entered the third with a nail-bitingly small 1-0 lead. They pulled away in the final frame, however, as Daniel Sedin, Loui Eriksson and Carl Hagelin notched three goals in about 10 minutes. Hagelin added a second tally later in the third.

Alexander Steen scored the first goal of the game.

Hagelin might have enjoyed that strong finish the most, as he gained a little revenge for a questionable hit earlier in the game. Sabahudin Kovacevic received a two-minute interference penalty for hitting Hagelin after the puck was near him. Kovacevic already found himself suspended once in this tournament and may have drawn similar attention* for today’s hit.

Slovenia finishes the tournament with victories both real and “moral,” as they put up respectable resistance to Russia, U.S. and Swedish powers and convincingly defeated Slovakia and Austria. It’s the kind of run that Anze Kopitar and his fellow teammates will likely remember for ages.

While many wondered about Henrik Lundqvist’s viability in this tournament considering a rocky start to his 2013-14 season, the Swedish goalie is providing evidence that he remains elite; he already has two shutouts in this tournament.

We’ll find out soon enough if the Swedes can continue their strong run in Olympic games on international ice, as they took gold in 2006.

Sweden will find out its next opponent soon enough, as Russia – Finland kicks off at 7:30 a.m. ET.

* – He may still as a matter of formality for future competition …

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

Anaheim Ducks v Vancouver Canucks
Leave a comment

Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.