Author: Joe Yerdon

Niklas Kronwall, Patrik Elias

Report: Elias still sick, will miss game vs. Slovakia

If the Czech Republic is going to get past Slovakia for a match-up against the United States, they’ll likely have to do it without Patrik Elias.

According to Zdenek Janda of iSport in the Czech Republic, Elias will miss the qualifying round game against the Slovaks with an illness. Elias missed the previous game against Switzerland with the same problem.

Elias was not either power play unit during the team’s practice on Monday according to iSport. That points toward him not being able to go for the game on Tuesday. Janda’s report is further evidence of that.

The Czechs’ curious decisions on their roster have provided enough debate fodder already after their mostly disappointing play during the opening round. Now with Elias likely missing this game, those choices will be put under the microscope again.

Babcock says Vlasic is ‘way better than everybody knows’

Drew Doughty, Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Much of the talk about Canada’s defense has centered around either the guys not playing or the stellar play of Drew Doughty. One of the guys flying under the radar, however, is San Jose Sharks blue liner Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

As Arpon Basu at shares, Vlasic has one big-time fan in Canada coach Mike Babcock.

“I just told somebody [Monday] morning that Vlasic is way better than everybody knows,” Babcock said. “He’s a really, really good player; Doughty gets to do anything he wants and Vlasic is always in a great spot. He’s a good defender, he’s become harder. He used to be a thin kid, now he’s a thick man. He’s hard, he’s smart, he skates, he moves the puck and he’s safe.”

Vlasic being the more defensive-minded half of a pairing with Doughty gives him a chance to shine in that role and that’s just what he’s doing.

Babcock referring to Vlasic as “safe” instantly makes him one of the more trusted guys on defense. The fact that he allows Doughty to have room to maneuver and help with the offense should make him Canada’s favorite defenseman.

Report: Hagelin injured but will play on for Sweden

Carl Hagelin

Sweden has had a host of injury problems to worry about before and during the Olympics, and now they have another concern to keep an eye on.

Forward Carl Hagelin was banged up in Sweden’s 5-3 win against Latvia, but he tells Swedish newspaper Expressen he’s ready to play on despite being hurt.

Hagelin tells Expressen he will continue to play in the Olympics and for Sweden that’s a good thing as they’re already working shorthanded.

The Swedes went into the Sochi Games without Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen and then lost captain Henrik Zetterberg to a herniated disc injury after the opening game against the Czech Republic. The catch about losing a player to injury during the Games is you can’t replace them with someone else. If Hagelin went out of the lineup, the Swedes would be going almost bare bones at forward.