Ice Hockey - Sweden vs Switzerland

Sweden’s Backstrom not feeling added pressure despite stepping into larger role in Sochi


No Henrik Sedin. No Henrik Zetterberg. Those two injuries could’ve had a negative impact on Sweden’s men’s Olympic hockey team.

(Remember, Sedin was ruled out of the competition days before the Olympics and Zetterberg had to leave after one game due to a back injury.)

Instead, a difficult situation has turned into an opportunity for Nicklas Backstrom to become a main man up the middle, and he’s taken full advantage to this point in the tournament. Through five games, the now 26-year-old Backstrom, centering the top line, is tied with Daniel Sedin and Erik Karlsson for the team lead in assists with four. He’s been forced to emerge as one of the key contributors on a team now competing in the gold medal game against the defending Olympic champions from Canada.

His production and valuable minutes – he’s averaged 18:22 per game – have helped Team Sweden secure at least a silver medal. Now, there’s one game left. One game to put it all on the line for one’s country, to win gold. No pressure, right?

“I don’t feel like I have pressure from outside,” Backstrom told “I always put pressure on myself and have high expectations of myself in a tournament like this or when you go into a new NHL season. That’s a similar situation.

“I think that is enough, to put the pressure and expectations I have for myself. Obviously we have a lot of ice time and the coaching staff believes in us, so it is something we have to take care of.”

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: